Some Healthcare Issues to Consider in 2019

Jan. 29, 2019
More employers are driving transformation in healthcare delivery by either directly contracting, partnering with their health plans, or working with other third parties to promote value-based care.

As healthcare is always top of mind for any business, the National Business Group on Health offered its take on the most important health issues for 2019. The group, a non-profit organization is comprised of 420 companies and represents large employers’ perspective on national health policy issues.

Here are the group top five issues to watch:

Employers Playing Activist Role —Healthcare costs continue to put economic pressure on employers and employees. The pace of meaningful and sustained change is slower than needed. More employers are driving transformation in healthcare delivery by either directly contracting, partnering with their health plans, or working with other third parties to promote value-based care. Nearly half of the employers we surveyed (49%) are pursuing one or more of these strategies that focus on improving access and convenience in addition to better quality and lower cost. We predict it will spread to more localities in the future.

Meeting the Needs of Today’s “On Demand Consumer”—Employers are rethinking consumerism. Today’s consumer places a premium on simplicity, convenience, and personalization. Navigators, concierge services and virtual resources are expanding to help consumers take some of the complexity out of accessing care and to better anticipate and address their unique needs. For the first time, our survey shows a 9% decline in the number of employers offering only consumer-directed health plans and we expect this percentage to grow in future years reflecting a movement towards increased choice.

Fast Approaching Tipping Point on Prescription Drugs—The push for more straightforward, simple, and streamlined supply-chain pricing and contracting models is reaching a tipping point. 2019 may well be the year the paradigm shifts. Over 90% of employers responding to our survey would welcome an alternative to the rebate-driven approach to managing drug costs.

Emotional Health Moves to the Forefront - From stress and anxiety to addiction, depression and serious mental illness, the full continuum of emotional, behavioral and mental health is front and center. Employers are addressing the access challenge through onsite and virtual counseling, network expansion where feasible and the integration of EAP and mental health benefits. Successful approaches remove stigma and consider brain health on par with other medical conditions.

Disruption Is the “New Normal”—Incumbents are evolving while new entrants will continue to make a splash and shake up the existing players. Artificial intelligence, wearables, voice recognition, genomics, blockchain, bioprinting and other advancements will play an increasingly larger role in disrupting health care delivery and access.

About the Author

EHS Today Staff

EHS Today's editorial staff includes:

Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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