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Controlling healthcare costs and boosting mental health outrank other priorities

Findings from our 2023 Best Practices in Healthcare Survey

October 11, 2023

Cost management is taking on a new level of urgency as employers are revising plan design. Explore actions you can take to reduce costs.
Health and Benefits

Top health and wellbeing priorities over next three years*

  • Company costs: 69%
  • Mental health and emotional wellbeing: 63%
  • Employee experience: 40%
  • Communication: 38%
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion: 37%
  • Employee affordability: 34%

68% project moderate to significant healthcare cost increases over the next three years

How employers are moving the needle on costs

At the point of care

How employers are moving the needle on costs
Action taken Planning/Considering 2024/2025
Offer a narrow network of higher-quality and/or lower-cost providers 18% 24%
Use centers of excellence within health plans 48% 19%
Utilize plan carve-out specialty pharmacy services and solutions 18% 16%
Offer a plan option(s) that restricts/eliminates out-of-network coverage for nonemergency services 21% 13%

Through health plan and vendor efficiencies

  • Implement programs and/or use vendors that will reduce total costs
    • Action taken: 37%
    • Planning/Considering 2024/2025: 50%
  • Take vendor/health plans out to bid through RFP to seek lower cost provider
    • Action taken: 32%
    • Planning/Considering 2024/2025: 47%

By actively managing pharmacy costs

By actively managing pharmacy costs
Action taken Planning/considering 2024/2025
Require employees to switch to biosimilars when available by 2025 16% 27%
Evaluate and address specialty drug costs and utilization that are paid through the medical benefit 57% 26%
Manage or limit coverage for anti-obesity medications 52% 22%
Have plan coverage exclusions or higher cost sharing for high-cost/low-value medications 47% 14%

Actions to take now

  1. Boost efforts to better manage costs at the point of care
  2. Conduct analysis of your organization’s retained healthcare risk and opportunities to transfer that through changes to stop loss or use of captives
  3. Develop vendor strategies to reduce costs and improve member health
  4. Identify ways to reduce costs of prescription drugs for diabetes and weight loss and switch to biosimilars
  5. Eliminate cost sharing for virtual care visits for mental health services

About the survey: A total of 457 employers participated in the survey, which was conducted in June and July 2023. Respondents employ 7.3 million employees.

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