Health plans are a huge cost for American employers and those costs keep growing rapidly. A recent survey gives a sense of the major health care issues on companies’ minds. The survey respondents include very large companies, all with over 10,000 employees and some with over 100,000. The number one concern is that Americans are going crazy at a record pace, boosted by the pandemic disruptions and our generally crazy social trends. There is a complete lack of mental health providers to deal with these issues, and I will tell you that many mental health professionals now are completely incompetent to actually help people because they are woke ideologists, not trained to deal with real life problems in a practical way.
The second major concern, not surprisingly, is pharmacy costs, which continue their rapid ascent as a portion of all health spending. Employers are struggling to find effective ways to manage specialty drug expenses, and now cell and gene therapies are arriving with even higher price tags. Cancer care is another concern, but this is linked to the drug spend issue as cancer drugs typically carry costs of tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars. Missed screenings during the epidemic has raised the possibility of more late-stage diagnoses, which means higher cost cases. Orthopedic care is another set of conditions getting special attention.
Other areas of concern in regard to these large employers’ benefit plans are managing vendors effectively and ensuring transparency on costs, including helping employees make good decisions on where to go for care. I am struck that employers seem stuck in pursuing the same strategies that have done nothing to actually lower the trend of health spending for decades. Nothing really innovative is occurring. So no surprise that this group of employers is expecting at least a 6% rise in spending for their health benefit plans in 2023. (BGH Survey)