While confident in employer healthcare plans, employees rate health system poorly
- Workers think healthcare is the most critical issue in the U.S., according to a new study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald & Associates. The study shows that 31% of workers rated healthcare as the top concern in America, and 60% of employees said health coverage is extremely important in whether to stay in their job. Researchers collected responses from 1,518 U.S. workers ages 21–64.
- Although workers were highly satisfied with their own health plans, 55% rated the healthcare system fair (30%) or poor (25%) in 2017.
- Employees were either extremely or very confident about accessing medical treatment and confident about their ability to pay for it. But their confidence levels diminished as they considered how treatment and affordability would look 10 years into the future.
Employees' satisfaction with their own health plans is good news for employers, who want to know that their benefits offerings are meeting plan participants' needs. Employees' fair-to-poor rating of the healthcare system, however, demonstrates their dissatisfaction with the way healthcare is delivered — something more employers have been looking at now that cost savings from plan design alone have largely plateaued.
Healthcare costs have strained the finances of many Americans, and employers have done what they can to alleviate this burden. But to stave off continued increases in healthcare costs, more employers have been connecting directly with providers to try and better negotiate plans.
One aspect of this issue certainly includes prescription drugs. Specialty pharmacy has risen as a top driver of healthcare costs, and more employers are casting scrutiny on their pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) thanks to their perceived opacity. CVS shook up the industry when it bought Aetna late last year, with some experts saying that the deal could redefine pharmacy benefit management in coming years.