Survey finds majority of employers support drug and hospital pricing reform
A survey from the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions finds employers’ support for health reforms – including hospital price transparency, surprise billing regulation, and hospital rate regulation – has increased over the past year.
The National Alliance surveyed 151 employers/purchasers in March 2021 for their opinions on health reform efforts, the impact of COVID-19 on the business environment, and how their organizations are making changes to benefit design strategies and care delivery.
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In 2020, 67% of employers believed hospital price transparency would be either somewhat or very helpful. That number jumped to 86% in 2021. Employers who believed hospital rate regulation would be very helpful jumped from 29% in 2020 to 40% in 2021.
When asked about their opinions of a Medicare public option in 2021, 44% of employers said they believe it could be helpful and 16% said it would be harmful.
Related to overall health benefits strategy, more than 90% of those surveyed anticipate expanding telehealth for physical and behavioral health care, and about 80% of employers are considering expanding virtual wellbeing programs.
About two-thirds have either implemented or are considering value-based design strategies. Forty-five percent of employers are considering increasing employee cost sharing to mitigate cost increases, and 55% are not considering this.
The survey also asked employers about their COVID-19 vaccination strategies. To encourage employees to receive vaccines, about 70% of employers are offering education on eligibility, safety, benefits, and points of access for the vaccines.
Just 8% of employers are considering mandating COVID-19 vaccines for employees, but over 80% of the largest employers surveyed said they anticipate providing onsite COVID vaccinations before the end of 2021.
National Alliance President & CEO Michael Thompson said in a statement that most employers expect a more stabilized business environment by the third quarter of 2021. He says the survey results show changes on the horizon for health care.
“While the vaccination efforts are currently job one, plans are shaping up now for employers to improve health, equity and healthcare value over the next few years.”