Employers should bring healthcare spending decisions in-house: Viewpoint

To curb the rising costs of paying for employee healthcare, employers should move away from consultants and bring healthcare spending decisions in-house, a group of policy researchers write in Health Affairs. 

The third parties companies use to navigate the complicated healthcare system rely on financial incentives and do not always have the company's best interests in mind, the authors write. Additionally, there is a lack of price transparency information available to employers to make the best decisions to save costs, they say. 

The authors offer three suggestions for companies to save costs on healthcare and rely less on contractors. 

Realign financial incentives

Companies should make sure any consultant or broker they enter into a contract with discloses direct and indirect compensation they receive, the authors write. Contracts should also include performance guarantees.

Own, analyze and use data 

Companies should make sure any contract they have with consultants or brokers allows the company to access their own financial and performance data. Companies should analyze health plan performance data themselves, as analyses from consultants performing services for the company will be inherently biased.

Innovate benefits 

Employers should use newly available pre-transparency data to determine benefit design and purchasing. 

Read the full opinion here. 

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