To keep rising group medical premiums as low as possible, employers have, for years, aggressively promoted preventive medical care. This strategy has been and continues to be one of the best cost containment strategies for taming the alarming and seemingly never-ending increases in health care premiums.
Not only does the early detection of health issues result in better patient outcomes, but it also helps prevent a medical claim from becoming catastrophic in terms of cost. High-cost claims not only create a financial burden for the patient but also contribute to year-over-year increases in medical premiums for the employer, which inevitably trickles down to the entire workforce enrolled in the health plan.
The pandemic, however, changed how individuals accessed health care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 41% of people deferred care during 2020 and 2021 due to concerns related to the pandemic.
Many individuals who postponed elective or in-person care to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 are now starting to address their deferred care. Accordingly, employers are struggling to respond to this surge in employee health care usage in a cost-effective manner.
Furthermore this deferred care is contributing to an already tight labor market since absences from work for medical appointments and recovery is on the rise.
By implementing strategies to address deferred medical care, employers can better prepare for increased future health care costs and workforce absences. Here are strategies to help employers with these issues.