When employers face rising healthcare costs in 2023, they bring their struggles of a tight labor market coupled with high inflation into the new year. But they can save, as they direct employees to better, more affordable care without shifting costs to their workforce.
Most employers are concerned about rising healthcare costs impacting their budgets while navigating how to win the talent war. As employees have been plagued with reduced buying power, the strategies below show employers why delivering value and education are the hallmarks to cost containment.
How to Contain Healthcare Costs—and Keep Employees
Here are 5 steps employers can take today to retain employees while reducing healthcare expenditures:
Direct Employees to Cost-Effective Care. Pinpointing employees to urgent care centers or imaging clinics instead of hospitals increases healthcare affordability. Employers that guide employees to cost-effective care reduce their overall healthcare spending. Encourage employees to compare and avoid unnecessary out-of-network care with alternatives including low-cost outpatient care facilities.
Use Healthcare Technology as a Retention Tool. Employees who have immediate access to telemedicine or online benefits capabilities create a cost-savings environment for their employers. The healthcare offered is quicker and often more affordable. Since employees with chronic illnesses capture most overall healthcare costs, using technology can help drive down unnecessary utilization and offer flexibility with health management apps and virtual care programs.
Revisit, or Readjust, Benefit Plan Design. A quality health benefits package supports employee engagement and productivity and reduces long-term spending. With the average employer-sponsored family coverage increasing by 47% over the last decade, some employers may consider directly contracting with high-quality and cost-effective care providers for in-network coverage, for example. Advanced primary care—such as on-site or near-site clinics—is another option. Employers that integrate healthcare benefits by combining vision, pharmacy, dental and disability benefits often gain control over rising healthcare costs.
Improve Healthcare Literacy for Employees. Employees who are well-informed about their healthcare options experience better health at a reduced cost. Encourage employees to take an active role in their health and well-being. As they grow more informed, they may likely drive a movement toward providers offering more quality-centric, affordable care.
Seek Out Assistance from an Insurance Advisor. Insurance advisors can help address the issues employers face regarding rising healthcare costs. In addition to these strategies, insurance advisors can also provide information on greater healthcare transparency and advocacy services to defray costs. Ultimately, employers will be better positioned to contain costs and prioritize employee benefits to retain talent.
 Kaiser Family Foundation 2021 Employer Health Benefits Survey