As we do every year, the National Business Group on Health held its Employers' Summit on Health Care Costs and Solutions in January. The summit provides a forum for close to 100 benefits leaders to come together early in the health care planning cycle to reflect on last year’s initiatives, discuss strategy for 2017 and begin to plan for 2018 and beyond. It’s an opportunity to share ideas, to network and learn from peers, and to leverage best practices that employers can implement back in the office.
The agenda and theme–Leadership in a Time of Change –focused on key trends health care, policy and leadership in human resources. Here are the key insights gleaned from the summit:
Rising health care costs is the top issue keeping employers up at night. There are signs that health care cost trends could be heading higher, mostly due to expensive new specialty drugs.
Employers continue to struggle with engagement across all initiatives, from decision support and concierge services to telehealth, transparency and health improvement. As employers look ahead to 2018, they are focused on new ways to engage employees by leveraging advancements in technology, harnessing big data and predictive analytics and transforming the consumer experience.
Specialty pharmaceuticals was the highest driver of costs for employers in 2016 with trend around 16%-20%. Controlling drug expenditures has been a challenge for employers due to lack of transparency on drug pricing, uncertainty about expected outcomes and inconsistent utilization of appropriate sites of care.
The Trump administration and the Republican leaders in Congress have set a clear goal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Policy experts weighed in on potential changes to the ACA may look like, such as the possible elimination of the individual and employer mandates, Excise Tax, Medicaid expansion, and more flexibility with HSAs, or the possible preservation of dependent coverage up to 26 years old, ban on pre-existing condition exclusions and ban on lifetime limits.
There is a shift by employers to move away from demand-side initiatives to supply-side approaches in health care delivery to provide employees with access to high-quality, lower-cost and more consumer-focused health care.
Members—download the complete findings and employer examples from the Key Insights and Learnings from the 2017 Employers’ Summit on Health Care Costs and Solutions.