According to Pricewaterhouse Coopers’ Health Research Institute (HRI), medical costs for employers in the U.S. are projected to increase by 6.5 percent in 2016. This is slightly lower from the 6.8 percent projection in 2015. Taking into account benefit design changes and tighter provider networks, industry experts believe this number could drop down closer to 4.5 percent.
Some factors expected to reduce the rise in costs to employers include:
- Influences from the Affordable Care Act’s nondeductible excise tax on higher-value plans.
- The growing trend of virtual health care.
- New health advisory services.
On the other hand, a couple factors expected to inflate costs to employers include:
- The high cost and expanding use of specialty drugs.
- New layers of cyber-security expenses to counter substantial security breaches.
With the forecasts being laid out, it is advised that employers pursue a game plan that will not only equip employees to make more informed health decisions, but also improve their bottom line. This will put companies in a better position to accommodate the rising costs of providing healthcare benefits.