Health care affordability crowds out wages, pricing transparency sparks employer concerns and fuels action according to National Alliance survey

Pulse of the Buyer Research Also Reveals Employee Recruitment and Retention Has Never Been a Higher Priority

WASHINGTON, November 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Unsustainable healthcare costs are thwarting employers’ efforts to attract and retain talent, with 73% saying they’re crowding out wage and salary increases, and 82% reporting they’re impacting on their ability to remain competitive. These are some of the findings of the latest survey of over 150 employers by the National Alliance of Healthcare Buyer Coalitions (National Alliance) and its members.

The Pulse of the Buyer study assessed employers’ concerns and strategies to address the workforce environment, hospital price and quality transparency, health and wellness benefits, including reproduction, health equity, and the greatest threats to the affordability of employer-sponsored coverage for employees and their families.

“The consensus among many responding employers is that attracting and retaining employees has become a street fight,” said Michael Thompson, Chairman and CEO of the National Alliance. “Concerns about a recession and runaway inflation make it even more critical for employers to hire and retain top talent and controlling unreasonable healthcare costs is having a huge impact on wages and the ability to compete.”

Other employer concerns and strategies include:

  • Three biggest threats to affordability – Drug prices (93%), expensive claims (87%) and hospitalization costs (79%) are the top cost drivers of employer-sponsored health benefit coverage for employees and their families.
  • Transparency increasing awareness – Employers familiar with transparency tools such as those from RAND, the National Academy for State Health Policy and Sage Transparency are 6-10 times more likely to strongly disagree that hospital prices are reasonable and defensible and 93% said consolidating hospitals did not improve costs. or quality of service.
  • Purchasing strategies to reduce costs – In light of hospital pricing practices, almost half (47%) of employers are using centers of excellence and within 1-3 years many employers are considering tiered networks (46%), care sites (43%), contracts and guaranteed performance linked to Medicare pricing and reference pricing (36%).
  • Advanced Health Strategies – Approaches that 9 in 10 employers are currently adopting or considering are high cost claims (94%), mental health and addictions access and quality (94%), hospital quality transparency ( 93%) and price transparency (91%), and the overall health of the person which covers both physical and emotional well-being (90%).
  • Attracting/retaining has never been a higher priority – Most employers (78%) strongly agree that this is an even higher priority post-pandemic, and 100% strongly agree or agree saying that health and wellness benefits are key to achieving this.
  • Hybrid Workforce Complexity Challenges – While 2 in 3 employers allow some form of remote work, the complexity that comes with accommodating a hybrid workforce creates challenges according to 93% of respondents. Interestingly, employees are struggling with this, as 31% disagree with the need to adapt or change health and wellness strategies to adapt.
  • Fiduciary Responsibility – Over 95% of employers agree that they have the right and responsibility to act as the plan sponsor’s fiduciary.
  • Health Equity in Motion – More than half of employers are currently engaging various company-wide departments to discuss company strategies and 41% are reviewing and addressing the role of workplace policies, with 24% planning to do so .
  • Support Reproductive Benefits – For birth control, 93% of employers reported providing coverage, 82% provide coverage for abortion services, and 50% provide coverage for fertility services as part of the medical benefit. Few consider eliminating reproductive benefits in light of the Roe decision. For travel-related benefits, 4 in 10 offer or plan to offer, but the vast majority do not limit this benefit to abortion services.

The online survey of 152 employers who are members of coalitions affiliated with the National Alliance was conducted in August and September 2022. Organizations represented included manufacturing, educational services, public administration, finance and insurance, and health care and social assistance facilities. The size of buyers ranged from very large (31%, 10,000+), to large (36%, 1,000-9,999) to medium (33%, less than 1,000). Full Buyer Pulse results can be found here.

Annual Forum 2022

This research will be among the topics of discussion at the National Alliance’s 2022 Annual Forum, November 7-9 in Arlington, Virginia. The event brings together employers, coalitions and other healthcare thought leaders to share industry insights to address today’s most pressing challenges and opportunities in the venue. of work. Learn more and register.

About the National Alliance of Healthcare Buyer Coalitions

The National Alliance of Healthcare Buyer Coalitions (National Alliance) is the only buyer-aligned nonprofit organization with a national and regional structure dedicated to promoting health and the value of healthcare. Across the country. Its members represent the private and public sectors, nonprofit and Taft-Hartley organizations, and more than 45 million Americans, spending more than 300 billion dollars annually on health care. To learn more, visit nationalalliancehealth.org and join us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

SOURCE National Alliance of Healthcare Buyer Coalitions