Willis Towers Watson, the large benefit consulting and brokerage firm, surveyed 554 companies with at least 1000 workers, employing in total over 11 million people, in order to ascertain where health benefits stand. (WW Survey) These respondents expect health care cost increases of 5% in 2019 compared to 4.7% in 2018. These increases are after plan design changes; without those changes the increase would have been 5.3%. As you would expect, almost all of these larger companies, 94%, expect to continue offering health benefits in future years. Employers describe two primary strategies, which pretty much sound like same old same old; focus on specific expensive diseases and conditions and encourage wellness in the hopes that it will prevent future disease episodes. Only about 30% of companies say they actually have made significant progress in controlling costs of expensive conditions and 40% say they are seeing advances in employee wellness. Among clinical conditions, 65% said diabetes and similar metabolic diseases are a primary concern for the coming three-year period; 59% listed musculoskeletal problems; and stress/mental health/behavioral issues were noted by 57% as a priority condition. 43% are hoping that all the whiz-bang fancy apps and wearables and analytics and whatever will help with condition management and wellness, and they are going to be disappointed. Just like they are with most current programs they adopt. Only 47% of employers feel they get sufficient worker participation in wellness efforts and only 19% think those programs are actually helping reduce chronic disease. 48% of employers have programs targeting specific diseases and more expect to adopt them, including 39% aimed at mental health concerns. So companies seem willing to make efforts to get workers healthier and to control health spending, but don’t seem to have found satisfactory solutions.
✅ Subscribe via Email
About this Blog
The Healthy Skeptic is a website about the health care system, and is written by Kevin Roche, who has many years of experience working in the health industry. Mr. Roche is available to assist health care companies through consulting arrangements through Roche Consulting, LLC and may be reached at [email protected].
Healthy Skeptic Podcast
This is an outstanding report on total global drug spending and trends, with projections out to 2025. It helps you understand this important area of health care, which does much...
June 1, 2021
MedPAC 2019 Report to Congress
June 18, 2019
Investors have not yet learned their lesson, as Pearl Health gathers a new round of $75 million in capital for its business of supporting physicians who want to participate in...
January 30, 2023
Now here is a tale from the glory days of epidemic investing, as the Feds pumped trillions into the economy and a lot of it went to investing, some to...
January 10, 2023
Another merger of two struggling “digital” health companies, which use virtual reality as a product design. Apparently you are less likely to drown in high seas when you are holding...
December 18, 2022
Access ACO Care Management Chronic Disease Comparative Effectiveness Consumer Directed Health Consumers Devices Disease Management Drugs EHRs Elder Care End-of-Life Care FDA Financings Genomics Government Health Care Costs Health Care Quality Health Care Reform Health Insurance Health Insurance Exchange HIT HomeCare Hospital Hospital Readmissions Legislation M&A Malpractice Meaningful Use Medicaid Medical Care Medicare Medicare Advantage Mobile Pay For Performance Pharmaceutical Physicians Providers Regulation Repealing Reform Telehealth Telemedicine Wellness and Prevention Workplace