Aon: 2018 may bring highest healthcare cost hikes for employers in 3 years
- U.S. workers could likely see the biggest increase in healthcare costs in three years in 2018, Aon predicts. Aon’s Health Value Initiative calculated the data, which shows that medical inflation and out-of-pocket cost-sharing are driving overall healthcare increases. Aon collected information on healthcare costs and benefits data from more than 450 large employers, 1,260 health plans and $54 billion in healthcare spending in 2017.
- After plan design changes and negotiations with vendors, Aon found that average increases in healthcare costs are predicted to rise by 7.2% in 2018, up from 6.9% in 2017. Average healthcare costs could be as high as $5,248 in 2018, up from $4,895 this year, while the average premium cost for employees is predicted to be $2,678 in 2018.
- The analysis also showed that the gross cost of prescription drugs rose was 7% higher during the first six months of 2017, compared to the same time frame in 2016.
Annual increases in healthcare costs are always expected. That's due to a number of factors. Other analyses have been quick to single out rising prescription drug prices as a primary culprit, but so is the advancement of technology in the industry.
Employers must factor in the costs of rising trends in health benefits, as projected over the next view years. These trends include treatment for opioid use; programs to cover emotional well-being, financial well-being and back pain treatment; and coverage for in vitro fertilization.
The challenge is balancing costs against the advantage of offering benefits that prove to be important in recruiting hiring and retaining workers. More employers are putting resources into finding sustainable solutions to the healthcare cost crisis, especially as healthcare reform stumbles to a halt in Congress.