Employers to raise wellness incentives by 50%

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Employers expect health insurance costs to rise 7 percent next year so they are looking to beef up their cost-control measures, including boosting wellness programs and enhancing employees' cost-sharing measures, according to a survey released Monday from the National Business Group on Health (NBGH).

That means insurers with large group plans may need to adjust their offerings to keep up with employers' changing desires. For example, 43 percent of employers surveyed said consumer-directed health plans (CDHP) are the most cost-effective method to controlling costs. Another 19 percent considers wellness programs that incentivize employees to improve their overall health to be a strong cost-control option, reported Employee Benefit News.

The NGBH, which surveyed 342 businesses to analyze their views on providing their employees with health insurance coverage, found that employers increasingly have favored wellness programs, a trend that could lead to big drops in insurance costs if they successfully motivate employees to maintain healthful lifestyles, Live Insurance News reported. To improve these wellness programs, employers intend to increase employees' participation rewards, including raising incentives by 50 percent from $300 to $450 next year.

Employers also want to beef up their employees' cost-sharing. Sixty percent said they would raise the amount of premiums employees pay, 40 percent would increase in-network deductibles, 33 percent would raise out-of-network deductibles, and 32 percent would increase out-of pocket maximums.

And when it comes to shifting employees over to health insurance exchanges, 51 percent of employers said they would consider moving retirees, and 35 percent might move their current part-time employees, reported The Washington Post.

To learn more:
- read the NGBH survey
- see the Employee Benefit News article
- check out the Washington Post article
- read the Live Insurance News article

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