Open insurance enrollment across the country at businesses large and small will open within the next few weeks. Many of us will be surprised by rate hikes or changes in our plans that may impact coverage.
I hate to be the one to tell you this unwelcome news, but it seems that this year’s rate increase will outpace last years. I’ve seen numbers ranging from 5-15% for an average rate increase. In fact, Fitch Ratings anticipates the impact of COVID-19 could last for decades. The lucky (I mean prepared) ones will be able to negotiate based on better/more profitable health plan performance or strong health stats. And I even know some companies that are absorbing the cost increases in whole or in part for their employees, given the challenges of this year.
A Long Haul
It’s likely that business owners and corporate leaders have been wrestling with their plans for months and trying to negotiate better rates. Health and benefits costs are one of the largest and fastest growing expense line items of any organization. The pandemic has made these costs even more unpredictable and uncertain.
We see this as a long-term trend because many consumers deferred health care and procedures for fear of the pandemic, or their surgeries were postponed because they couldn’t gain access to facilities. Tangential costs related to diagnostic testing, mental health and chronic lasting symptom treatment will add to the cost. Last month, we also wrote about the fact that nurses and other healthcare providers are experiencing burnout and are leaving the industry, driving up employee cost and placing a premium on talent acquisition.
But What Can You Do?
All of these factors contribute to companies being on high alert for ways to manage costs. My team at PyxisCare has been working with clients – individual and corporate – to crunch the numbers and find creative solutions to rising costs. We have wonderful success stories of containing costs and creating wins for clients. In some cases, our nurses work onsite with corporate clients to ensure appropriate health care utilization, resulting in fewer emergency room trips and better management of and accountability for chronic conditions. And in some instances, it’s a simple matter of understanding what plan best fits your lifestyle. With Medicare open enrollment beginning on October 15 through December 7, you still have time to make great decisions. We would love to share our expertise with you.