Employers Are Exploring New Methods to Improve Healthcare Access for Employees

Oct 16, 2019
| The Extensis Team

Employers and employees continue to struggle with the challenges associated with healthcare in the United States, most notably rising costs.

To combat premium increases, some employers are cutting health insurance benefit costs, usually lowering the quality of healthcare available to workers.

This is even more common for smaller employers, who often see higher prices than larger companies. Luckily for small business owners, there are solutions and partnerships available that can help overcome this trend.

But many employers are trying to explore methods and strategies to help employees get access to high-quality healthcare at affordable prices. And a recent survey from Willis Towers Watson provided a closer look at how companies are trying to accomplish this goal.

Employers Are Trying to Tackle Healthcare Challenges

In early May, Willis Towers Watson released the results from their Health Care Access and Delivery Survey.

Taken in October 2018 by 255 United States employers, the survey showed that employers are looking to implement new solutions with the goal of providing employees with access to high-quality and cost-effective healthcare options.

These solutions include:
  • High-performance networks
  • Accountable care organizations
  • Centers of excellence
  • Onsite health centers
  • Near-site health centers

41% of survey takers said they intend to adopt one of these options by 2021. For comparison, only 32% currently use these solutions.

The survey also showed what employers are most concerned about with providing high-quality healthcare to their employees. 54% listed inadequate access to mental health services and 47% said a lack of substance abuse treatments.

How Are Employers Trying to Find Quality Healthcare Without High Costs?

Employers aren’t just worried about lowering healthcare costs. In fact, many want to enhance the quality of their health insurance offerings, which includes helping their employers find experienced, reputable practitioners.

To do this, employers are adding high-performance networks (HPNs) and centers of excellence (COEs). These solutions help identify providers with that are known to offer high-quality care at fair costs.

Looking at the data, 80% of employers plan to include COEs by 2020, while 65% expect to have HPNs by the same time.

Additionally, employers are also attempting to make healthcare more accessible to their workforce. 38% say they are thinking about opening a health center at their office which would include preventative, primary, and urgent care.

26% said they are exploring the idea of offering near-site health centers by 2020 – a significant increase from the 8% of employers who have these currently.

Besides the potential to save on healthcare costs and give employees better access, why else are employers looking at these solutions?

81% said that adding these benefits enhanced productivity and reduced absenteeism. And 84% of employers that have health centers said they helped to identify health issues early on and helped foster healthy habits within their workforce.

Employers Want to Enhance Healthcare while Reduce Costs for Employees

Healthcare challenges today impact large and small employers alike, though often bigger companies are able to better handle rising costs.

And while some of the options Willis Towers Watson listed above may not be possible for small business owners, exploring HR partnerships could provide these employers with higher-quality health insurance at competitive costs.

One area of HR is becoming increasingly more difficult for small employers to properly handle — maintaining compliance with employment laws. Download our eBook, Guide to Employment Law: Topics Employers Must Know to Stay Compliant, to learn more about some of the biggest trends and topics in employment law.

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