Employer Healthcare Strategies


4 Takeaways from the 2024 MMB Health Trends Report

Posted by CareATC on March 12, 2024

240312_BP_HealthcareTrendsIn the ever-evolving healthcare landscape, staying ahead of trends is crucial for employers aiming to provide comprehensive benefits while managing costs effectively. Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB) surveyed 223 insurers across 58 countries to identify how employers can effectively balance meeting employee needs while managing workforce risk. The recently released 2024 MMB Health Trends Report sheds light on four key trends shaping the future of employer-provided healthcare. Let's delve into these trends and explore how employers can navigate this complex terrain.

1.) Rising Costs

One of the most pressing challenges facing employers is the continual rise in healthcare costs. 86% of insurers globally believe medical inflation had a significant or very significant impact on the 2023 medical trend (MMB, 2023). Despite a projected slight decrease compared to peak pandemic levels, medical trend rates in 2024 are anticipated to surpass pre-pandemic figures. To address this, employers must strike a delicate balance between cost containment and meeting the diverse needs of their workforce.

2.) Focus on Prevention

With diseases like cancer driving significant claims costs, preventative measures are becoming increasingly important. Employers are urged to prioritize preventive healthcare initiatives while also exploring innovative solutions to support employees facing serious diagnoses. 61% of insurers globally make communications on cancer prevention/preventive care available for employer sponsors of private group medical insurance, and a further 27% are considering it (MMB, 2023). By investing in wellness programs and early detection strategies, employers can mitigate long-term healthcare expenses.

3.) Digital Disruption

The healthcare industry is experiencing disruption due to skills shortages and the rapid advancement of digital technologies. Employers have a unique opportunity to leverage digital health solutions. 70% of insurers expect using AI for first-line diagnosis and/or navigation to have a transformative impact on employer-sponsored health care over the next five years (MMB, 2023). Embracing these new technologies can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of employer-sponsored healthcare, ultimately improving outcomes for employees.

4.) Inclusive Benefits

Addressing gaps in coverage for mental health, women's health, and inclusivity is essential for creating a holistic healthcare experience. 56% of insurers do not currently cover targeted mental health, socialization, and learning issues for children, teenagers, and families (MMB, 2023). Employers can make a meaningful impact by offering inclusive benefits that cater to the diverse needs of their workforce. By prioritizing coverage for mental health services and addressing social and learning issues for families, employers can foster a healthier and more inclusive workplace culture.

In navigating these trends, collaboration between employers, insurers, and healthcare providers is key. 42% of insurers have not adjusted deductibles/excesses and co-payments in line with inflation and have no plans to do so (MMB, 2023). Employers should proactively negotiate with providers to implement cost-containment measures without compromising the quality of care. Ongoing communication and feedback can help identify and address gaps in coverage, ensuring that every employee's needs are met.

As we continue to adapt to the evolving healthcare landscape, staying informed and proactive will be vital for employers seeking to provide competitive benefits while managing costs. By embracing innovation, prioritizing prevention, and fostering inclusivity, employers can navigate the complexities of healthcare and ensure the well-being of their most valuable asset—their employees.

Mercer Marsh Benefits. (2023). Health Trends 2024: Getting the right balance between managing costs and meeting employee needs. Mercer. 

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Post Topics Workplace Wellness, Benefits & Compensation, Healthcare Industry News, Employee Engagement, Benefit Brokers