Employers are hoping to spare workers via health-cost increases

The tight job market has employers large in addition to little rethinking their health benefits for 2019.

According to researchers at PwC, the big goal next year can be to try to insulate workers via rising health costs.

For Atlantic Health System in completely new Jersey, which means a bold plan to join with 5 additional completely new Jersey hospitals on a health insurance venture, which will leverage the size of their combined 50,000-person workforce to get better deals via insurers in addition to pharmacy benefit plans.

“How do you drive out unnecessary utilization, while maintaining very high quality?” explained Brian Gragnolati, Atlantic’s CEO. “We’ve got a lot of experiences with which so what we’re trying to do here can be take those best practices in addition to apply them to our own workforce.”

Gragnalti believes the combined plan could help Atlantic cut health benefit costs by 10 percent — which’s cash they can put toward retaining workers in a competitive market.

“If you’re spending more money on benefits, which’s less money which you can spend on wages. The opportunity for savings here allows us to put more in our employees’ pockets,” he said.

Researchers at PwC’s Health Research Institute are projecting which large employers will see health costs increase 6 percent in 2019, according to their latest medical cost trend report.

The growth rate has hovered between 5.5 to 7 percent for the last 5 years. although for 2019, large employers surveyed for the report are rethinking some of the benefit designs they’ve used to keep expenses in check over the last few years.

“When we asked ‘what are you doing in terms of strategy’… last year, a lot of them were going to go full replacement, high-deductible plan. which year they genuinely backed off,” via plans to do which, said Barbara Gniewek, a principal with PwC who focuses on employer health benefits consulting.

Employers continue to be focused on bringing overall costs down by designing medical plans with tighter provider networks, in addition to drug plans with restrictive brand name formularies. although most large employers are trying to avoid raising deductibles in addition to shifting more costs to employees, in addition to planning to absorb the higher costs.

“We genuinely think which’s because they’re worried about the labor market being so tight,” Gniewek said, adding, “so they’re kind of staying exactly where they are … not shifting costs to employees.”

They are also investing more in services in addition to digital tools to help employees optimize their benefits. Researchers found employers using a workforce under 35 place a higher priority on hiring health-care vendors focused on a better consumer experience.

Like Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway in addition to J.P. Morgan, Atlantic in addition to its partners in completely new Jersey are hoping to leverage data in addition to digital tools to help make health benefits easier to navigate for their workers.

“which gives us an opportunity to genuinely prove to ourselves in addition to prove to our local employer markets which we can develop something which’s different,” said Gragnolati.

While which’s not clear when the Amazon-led initiative will get off the ground, the hospital alliance expects to finalize its plan which month in addition to expects to roll out the health plan for 2019 open enrollment inside fall.

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