Health Plans Can Expect Lower Cost Trends

But Their Rates Significantly Outpace Inflation and Wage Increases

Health benefit plan cost trend rates for 2017 are projected to be similar to prior levels for most medical plan options. But, carved-out prescription drug benefit cost trends for active populations continue to increase at double-digit rates.

These findings were identified in Segal Consulting’s 20th annual survey of managed care organizations (MCOs), health insurers, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and third-party administrators (TPAs). Health plan cost increases continue to significantly outpace general inflation and average wage increases.

In light of this, what can plan sponsors do? Many are applying multiple management strategies to bring health cost trends down to more sustainable levels. According to our survey, the top five cost-management strategies implemented by group health plans in 2016 were:

  • Using specialty pharmacy management
  • Intensifying pharmacy management program
  • Contracting with value-based providers, including accountable care organizations and patient-centered medical homes
  • Adding low-cost primary care access through strategies such as telemedicine, walk-in clinics and on-site clinics
  • Increasing financial incentives in wellness design.

Download the survey to learn more about the cost trends and additional management strategies that can be used to address them.

2017 Health Plan Cost Trend Survey infographic

Prescription drug benefit cost trends for active populations continue to increase at double-digit rates, with an exceptionally large trend increase in specialty and biotech drugs. Read the 5 top cost management strategies in Segal’s 2017 Health Plan Cost Trend Survey infographic.

2017 Health Plan Cost Trend Survey Report

Health benefit plan cost trend rates for 2017 are projected to be similar to prior levels for most medical plan options. However, carved-out prescription drug benefit cost trends for active populations continue to increase at double-digit rates, according to forecasts compiled in the 2017 Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey.

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