Don’t count on employers to stop offering health benefits altogether, but do count on big changes in how they offer the benefits.
That’s the main finding from recent analysis by Aon Hewitt. The vast majority of large and mid-size U.S. employers — 94 percent — say they’ll continue to offer health benefits to their employees in the next three to five years, but almost two-thirds plan to move away from a traditional “managed trend” approach to one that requires participants to take a more active role in their health care planning.
The consulting firm surveyed nearly 800 large and mid-size U.S. employers covering more than 7 million employees.
“The health care marketplace is becoming increasingly complex,” says John Zern, executive vice president for Aon Hewitt. “New models of delivery, new approaches to managing health and new compliance requirements are challenging employers to think differently about their role in owning health insurance responsibilities for employees and their dependents.”
Aon Hewitt says the amount employers spend on health care has increased by 40 percent in the past six years to approximately $8,800 per employee. Meanwhile, employee premium and out-of-pocket costs have increased 64 percent to almost $5,000 per year. Aon Hewitt estimates that health care costs for both employers and employees will continue to rise 8 percent to 9 percent per year for the foreseeable future.
Zern says though employers are staying in the health benefits game, they are taking “bold and assertive steps to achieve more effective results” — and they are doing so at a faster pace than has been seen in previous years.