Several recent surveys on employer-sponsored health insurance have found that plan sponsors are following three major trends: expanding virtual care and telehealth benefits, narrowing provider networks and emphasizing centers of excellence in their benefit designs. Experts suggest that these trends are driven by the continuing growth in health care costs, which is reflected in growing premiums for firms and employees. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed plan sponsors to unforeseeable risk.
According to the 2020 edition of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s (KFF) Employer Health Benefits Survey (see infographic, p. 7), which was published Oct. 8, this year’s annual premium growth (4% for individuals and families) outstripped both wage growth (3.4%) and inflation (2.1%). That is in line with the dramatic growth in premiums in recent years, which have risen 22% in the last five years and 55% in the last 10.