Deferred Care Drives Up Employer Health Care Spending, Especially on Oncology

After a year in which health care cost trend flatlined, costs for self-funded plan sponsors increased “significantly” — by 8.2% — in 2021, according to the Business Group on Health’s 2023 Large Employers’ Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey. In addition, for the first time in the history of the annual survey, cancer eclipsed musculoskeletal conditions as the top driver of large firms’ health costs.

In 2020, 78% of polled employers said cancer was the top cost-driving condition, and the share rose to 80% in 2021 and 83% in 2022. The percentage of employers identifying musculoskeletal conditions as the most expensive condition dropped each of the three years, from a high of 90% in 2020, down to 84% in 2021 and 76% in 2022.

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Leslie Small

Leslie Small

Leslie has been reporting and editing in various journalism roles for nearly a decade. Most recently, she was the senior editor of FierceHealthPayer, an e-newsletter covering the health insurance industry. A graduate of Penn State University, she previously served in editing roles at newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Colorado.

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