Telemedicine and new service structures may help contain the expense

rawpixel-577480-unsplash-196115-editedLarge U.S. employers anticipate the cost of providing medical and pharmacy benefits to increase 5 percent for the sixth year in 2019 — and a growing number are turning to virtual health care and alternative payment and delivery models to help control employee health care costs, according to the results from an annual survey.

The average health care cost per employee, including premiums and out-of-pocket costs for employees and dependents, is projected to be $14,099 this year and $14,800 next year.

Roughly 70 percent of employee health care costs will be covered by employers; employees will be responsible for about 30 percent.

Slightly more than half (51 percent) of employers said their top health care initiative in 2019 will be to implement more virtual health care solutions.

Thirty-five percent are instigating alternative payment and delivery models, such as accountable care organizations, groups of contracted providers that share a financial responsibility for providing care, and high performance networks, narrow groups of providers that serve a specific patient population.

For more information on how large employers plan to address employee health care costs in the coming year, view this press release on the survey, conducted by the nonprofit National Business Group on Health organization.

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