The most recent survey from Kaiser Family Foundation reported average premiums for family health coverage increased by 4.9% to $20,576 this year, while premiums for single coverage climbed 4.2% to an average of $7,188. The share of people enrolled in employer plans with deductibles remained flat at 82%, and the average single deductible now stands at $1,655, compared with last year’s $1,573.
As costs for health insurance continue to increase, it is time to identify and address the root causes and rethink the model of delivering health insurance. Instead, most of the attention is focusing on the myriad of trends and sound-bite details of the cost increase that include surprise medical bills, drug prices, and “Medicare for All.”
It is time to take a deeper look at the role of Congress, insurance companies, third-party payers, manufacturers, and Employers as purchasers of care begin remodeling commercial health insurance. In a similar way to countries such as Canada and England, the U.S. can innovate more efficiency and clinically effective solutions but a change in thinking about healthcare differently is required for dealing with our much larger health care system.
The health insurance costs for employees, while still basically cost-effective in commercial plans, is changing rapidly for other reasons such as the number of full-time employees decrease, and the number of independent contractors increase. It is time for attempting fundamental change.
Building on an alternative narrative as everyone generally agrees the system is broken, the only winners currently are the insurance and third-party administrative companies. The need is to determine what we are trying to do with health care coverage strategically in order to more effectively navigate and determine actionable solutions.
Commercial insurance plan sponsors have the interest and flexibility to make change happen. We stand ready to assist in root cause identification, meaningful metrics, and accomplishing real system change that can be beneficial to all concerned.