Employers linking center-of-excellence contracts to value-based pay
Rather than solely shifting costs to workers, large employers are jumping on the value bandwagon in order to curtail healthcare spending.
For instance, 47% of companies are steering patients toward centers of excellence for orthopedic surgeries compared with 40% last year, according to a new survey by the National Business Group on Health. Overall, 88% of surveyed employers expect to use centers of excellence for transplants, orthopedics and other procedures in 2018.
Providers should anticipate that 21% to 48% of those contracts will be bundled payments or another alternative payment model.
Two-thirds of large employers are offering workers second-opinion decision support or assistance from navigators on how to stay in their provider network, according to the survey. Also, 64% offer claims dispute assistance.
At the same time, employers appear to be less enthralled with carving out narrow networks, with 26% of large employers surveyed saying they use them now and only 19% predicting they will be doing so in 2018. The report added: “If the healthcare cost trend begins to increase again, this may be one of the first areas employers go to rein in costs.”
The survey reflects 2018 benefits planning for 418 employers covering 15 million lives.
On average, these employers will spend about $14,150 a year for each employee’s insurance plan, which covers an average of 2.1 people. That spending is an increase of 5% from 2017 and represents the fifth straight year of 5% increases.
The increases are slightly below the forecast aggregate medical spending increase, which is expected to be 6.6% next year. National Business Group on Health President and CEO Brian Marcotte said health inflation continues to rise twice as fast as pay increases and three times as fast as general inflation, and that’s not sustainable in the long term.