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Another Survey of Employer Health Plans

By November 28, 2023Commentary

I track what is happening with employer health plans carefully because they cover almost half of all Americans and they are often leading indicators for health benefit trends and cost trends.  This survey comes from Mercer, a large consulting firm.  As Mercer states, employers are walking a fine line between trying to keep benefit costs under control, provide good benefits, and not shift costs too much to lower-wage workers.  Costs per employee rose 5.2% in 2023 to $15,800 and employers are expecting another large increase in 2024.  Cost increases at 7.8% and per employee costs at $16,500 were higher for small employers.  Drugs, particularly specialty drugs were the biggest contributor to cost increases, with spending rising 8.4% in this category.  Large employers are using specialized care networks, second opinions and more intensive care management to try to limit health spending rises.  I think these strategies will have little impact in the face of providers’ demands for higher reimbursement.  (Mercer Survey)

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