Employers Expect Health Care to Rise

Employers expect their health costs to rise by more than 5 percent in 2022 as concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic linger, according to a global firm that helps companies manage risk, optimize benefits, and cultivate talent.

Medical and pharmacy benefit costs are expected to increase by 5.2 percent next year, the report found, a slight decline from the 5.5 percent increase projected in 2021 but significantly higher than the 2.1 percent increase felt in 2020 as many people deferred healthcare services during the pandemic.

Including premiums, total costs per employee are expected to increase from $12,501 in 2020 to $13,360. Employer premium contributions are also set to go up, rising from $3,269 to $3,331.

“Rising costs and increased utilization fueled by a resurgence in deferred care are driving employers to find new ways to control costs while providing employees with affordable, high-quality care,” said Julie Stone, managing director of health and benefits at Willis Towers Watson.

The survey also outlines a number of solutions employers are trying to address rising costs. For example, 22 percent of employers currently structure benefit contributions based on pay or job grade, and 8 percent said they are considering those structures in the next two years.

A quarter of employers said they include surcharges for covering a working spouse, according to the survey. Another 9 percent said they are planning to roll out similar programs or are considering them in the next two years.

Source: Fierce Healthcare