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Health costs are rising at rates that exceed inflation, our population is aging, health spending is on the rise, changes in employment and benefits laws are rampant, the ACA directly and indirectly are presenting extensive challenges in managing health care costs, and employers continue to take on more and more of these burdens. Unfortunately, these trends are expected to continue.
Although more traditional cost-management methods like shifting costs and responsibilities back to employees and the introduction of high-deductible health plans serve a worthwhile and necessary goal, cost-cutting that denies individuals access to necessary medications or that makes purchasing prescription drugs a financial hardship may negatively affect long-term health care costs, workers’ health and productivity.
Employers should keep the larger picture in mind when developing strategies that have the potential for significant savings.