Global benefits consultant Towers Watson last month released the results of a survey measuring how employers are navigating their future health care strategy, and there are a lot of interesting points to take away from it. The study, 2012 Health Care Changes Ahead, includes responses from 440 mid- to large-size U.S. companies about their healthcare strategies in the face of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
To sum up the results, the company’s surveyed confirmed a strong commitment to health care benefits for active employees.
Some of the interesting findings related to our services include:
- A number of employers are taking advantage of new ways to deliver health care, including onsite services. Forty-eight percent of employers surveyed offer onsite health coaching and 36 percent provide onsite health centers .These services can range from onsite coaching and limited medical services to full centers with pharmacy capabilities.
- As health plan reshaping occurs, employers are considering offering more incentives within plan design for the selection and use of high-performance networks (44% in the next two to three years). Forty percent are considering using value-based benefit designs (e.g., providing a different level of coverage based on cost or quality, or evidence-based practice), and 30% are considering implementing new financial terms or performance standards for their health plans.
- Employers are also maintaining a focus on holding employees accountable for their health choices. Three-quarters of employers will use financial incentives to encourage individuals to complete a health risk appraisal or biometric screening, or to participate in health management programs and activities, with an additional 16% considering such incentives in the next two to three years. And over half (52%) are considering rewarding or penalizing employees based on biometric outcomes. This is in addition to the 22% taking this approach now or in 2013. Many will also reward nonsmokers and penalize smokers.
- To support employees in this effort, employers are looking to help employees access cost-effective, high-quality care. Over half of employers currently provide — or plan to provide next year — their employees with hospital price and quality data via transparency tools purchased from either their health plans or through specialty vendors.
There’s a lot to digest here, but the findings seem to be in line with what we’re experiencing at Marathon Health. Our onsite health center model provides access to high quality, high value care. And our care model guides the individual in the process of becoming a more active participant in their own health and health care. We also help our customers develop strategies around health improvements to ensure that they see important changes in the prevalence rates across the biometric outcomes we track. In a sense, what we provide is true healthcare reform.