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Although it was nice while it lasted, a multi-year slowdown in the growth of healthcare costs came to an end in 2015 with overall costs increasing 5.8% and spending by private insurers increasing 7.2 %. A December 2nd report by U.S.News, in addition to citing the above, points out that these are the largest increases in the last 8 years and probably signal that the downturn in healthcare costs was temporary.
Employers should probably not be surprised. Despite its promising name, the “Affordable Care Act,” while decidedly effective at increasing coverage and, in fact, making coverage more affordable for a segment of the population, did little to address the underlying drivers – on both the demand and supply side of the ledger – of healthcare inflation. And although incentives for primary care physicians to improve outcomes and reduce costs under provisions of the “MACRA” legislation to go into effect in January hold promise, employers are not likely to see the benefits of those changes anytime soon.
Three Things Employers Must Do
While we think there are specific steps employers should be taking to both control costs and improve outcomes, looking to the Federal government would not be among them. Specifically, employers can and should be acting to achieve three goals:
For more information on how to achieve these goals at your organization, give us a call. We’d be happy to talk about how to help you tailor these three strategies.