Health Reform WK-EDGE Health care cost per employee will top $15,000 in 2020
Thursday, August 29, 2019

Health care cost per employee will top $15,000 in 2020

By Lauren Bikoff, MLS

Employee health care costs expected to rise in 2020, but employers will cover nearly 70 percent of the total costs.

In 2020, the total cost of health care per employee, including premiums and out-of-pocket costs, is projected to rise an average of $15,375 in 2020, according to recent research from the National Business Group on Health (NBGH). The 2020 Large Employers’ Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey found that the total cost of health benefits will rise 5 percent in 2020. Employers say they will cover nearly 70 percent of costs, while employees will be responsible for 30 percent, or nearly $4,500.

Employers are working on ways to stem the increases, NBGH found. Employers identified implementing more virtual care solutions (51 percent) and a more focused strategy on high cost claims (39 percent) as their top initiatives for 2020. The survey also found that managing prescription drug benefit costs remains a high priority for employers in 2020. The survey found 85 percent of respondents rate high-cost drugs as the number one or two most concerning pharmacy issues.

Employer interest in alternative payment and delivery models including accountable care organizations (ACOs) and high-performance networks (HPNs) remains strong. Thirty-one percent plan to implement either or both strategies in select markets in 2020, either directly or through their health plan, and that percentage could nearly double to 60 percent by 2022.

In addition, 49 percent of employers plan to pursue an advanced primary care strategy in 2020, and another 26 percent are considering one by 2022. One-third of employers (34 percent) will deliver advanced primary care through an onsite or near-site health center while a growing percentage of employers (24 percent) are looking to directly contract with advanced primary care models in select markets.

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