by Geoffrey Schick
The 2016 Economic Outlook for Health Care
Executive Director’s Report

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to serve as a presenter at Park Bank’s 2016 Economic Outlook. The forum brought together local experts sharing their insights, perspectives and outlooks in the areas of real estate, manufacturing and health care. I thought I would share with you some of the highlights of my presentation which examined recent trends in health care costs and benefit plan design changes and the business impact of health status.

Health Care Costs

  • Relative to double-digit cost increases of the early 2000s, the health care cost trend remains low, yet still well above the rate of inflation
  • Health care costs vary widely across industries, with average costs per employee per year ranging from $8,706 to $15,440 with some of the lowest costs in the retail sector and some of the highest in the energy/utilities and pharmaceutical sectors

Benefit Plan Design

  • Employer confidence in continuing to offer health care coverage to active employees ten years from now nearly doubled from 2014 (25 percent) to 2015 (44 percent)
  • Eighty percent of employers are planning to change health and pharmacy plan design in the next three years as a way to control costs
  • Sixty percent of employers are anticipating adopting a spousal surcharge, compared to 27 percent who presently have one
  • Forty percent of employers are looking to structure employee premium contributions based on employees taking specific actions

Health Status

  • Employees in poor health report over triple the days absent from work and almost 40 percent more lost time while at work compared to those in very good health
  • Employees in very good health are almost twice as likely to be highly engaged in their health and are more than 20 percent less likely to be disengaged than those in poor health

As you can see, while progress has been made, there are many opportunities for improvement. This is the reason the BHCG exists. Together, we have a much greater chance of finding solutions to the health care and benefit issues we all face.



2015 Willis Towers Watson/NBGH Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey

2015/2016 Towers Watson Global Benefits Attitudes Survey, US


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