ORLANDO, Fla. — Sorry; the cost of employee health care continues to rise, despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. But you probably knew that.
That was some of the message health care financing expert Susan L. Lang brought to HARDI’s annual convention at her Dec. 6 session, “Shaking the Money Tree: Small Employers as Health Consumers.”
“The cost of health care is really not going down,” said Lang, the founder and CEO of HooPayz LLC, a financial-wellness firm. “We just keep pushing it around, depending on who has leverage.
Large employers, insurance companies and drug manufacturers all attempt to carve out the best deal for themselves, she said. It’s hard for the smaller employers that make up the majority of Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International members to get a break.
Employers are passing some costs onto employees, “although less than you would think,” Lang said.
The goal of the 2010 act — aka Obamacare — was to get insurance for more people at reasonable prices and reduce costs for those who already had it, she said. And while more people are insured today, the cost containment hasn’t happened in most cases.
“This has gotten far away from where we started,” she said.
However, don’t expect the law to be repealed, despite that being high on the GOP’s wish list, she added. And since the large insurance and drug companies supported its passage, Lang said she doesn’t foresee Obamacare as a precursor to a European-style health care system.
“I don’t think we can get to a single-payer system anytime soon,” she said.
Lang urged employers to do five things to make their health care dollars go farther:
- Engage employees.
- Improve health care benefit literacy.
- Know the true cost of care.
- Manage care sites.
- Get expert support for administrative costs.
Some companies are experimenting with doctor consultations done via video chat or phone for simple ailments, she said. These have the potential to save substantial dollars.