PwC’s 2017 Touchstone Survey report focuses on medical and prescription drug plan design, wellness/well-being, paid time off, healthcare reform, retiree benefits and health benefits strategy. The survey data contains detailed benefits information provided by over 780 participating employers in 37 different industries across the US. This report is one of the most comprehensive studies available on benefit plans offered by US-based employers.
Some key findings:
The survey report includes a look-back over our history on some of the underlying changes in employer-sponsored health benefits – from the battle between HDHPs and PPOs, reduction in retiree medical plans, and decline of defined benefit plans to the need to change how we work in order to meet the demands of a multi-generational workforce.
In yet another year of cost increases that exceed Consumer Price Index (CPI) 3+ fold, employers are looking to limit the cost of health benefits by requiring greater employee contributions.
Participants are increasing contributions in the form of surcharges for spouse, domestic partner, and dependent coverage; this may be contributing towards a decrease in enrolled family size and slowing the rise in net employer spend.
Employers are utilizing High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) more and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) less, but HDHPs as a full-replacement is not happening as quickly as expected.
Employers continue to invest in wellness and disease management programs. While wellness has always been robust, there’s now more support for, and almost a rebirth of, care management programs.
Although return on investment is difficult to measure, participants believe that wellness and disease management programs are generally effective and continue to invest in these.
The future of the ACA is uncertain, and many employers have adopted a wait-and-see attitude to health benefits.
A focus on personal accountability appears to be influencing benefits strategy. Voluntary benefits and personal wellness initiatives are expanding. Flexibility is a key focus for the biggest work-force segment – millennials.