Ccertainly, a portion of thanks goes to the economy, which has constrained utilization. PwC also identifies four factors that will deflate 2013 medical cost trend:
- Medical supply and equipment costs come down under pressure, competition and consolidation.
- Employers and others turn to lower-cost options for delivering primary care services, such as retail and worksite clinics, telemedicine and mobile health tools.
- Price transparency empowers individuals to choose and emboldens employers to exact price justification.
- Brand-name drugs lose patent exclusivity and the related stranglehold on high-cost prescriptions.
Cost-shifting to employees a factor
The Pricewaterhousecoopers study also attributes cost containment to employers cost-shifting strategies to employees, whether through high-deductible health plans or increased copays. But, PwC notes a troubling complement to this cost-shifting that’s been discussed by others:
This shift is changing behavior and ultimately utilization; some employees are learning to shop around for needed care, while others forgo elective procedures or possibly delay care. A recent HRI survey found that 46 percent of consumers had delayed care at least once in the previous year, and 10 percent had delayed care ﬁve or more times.”
- Collect data and review the effectiveness of the company’s efforts;
- Communicate, educate and facilitate wellness;
- Promote value by offering low-cost options, such as onsite clinics and telemedicine;
- Use value-based approaches to benefits to drive, reward and sustain the desired behaviors.
To review Pricewaterhousecooper’s' data, register to read the full report here.