GM Leads Way for Employers Working to Lower Health Care Costs for Employees

DETROIT-JANUARY 26,2018, "Spirit of Detroit Statue" outside the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building,and Detroit Renaissance Center GM Headquarters, Downtown Detroit January 26, 2018 Detroit, Michigan USA

General Motors (GM) is one of the companies leading the way in lowering health care costs for their employees. The company announced that they’ve partnered with the Henry Ford Health System, entering into a contract, to provide health care services to the company’s employees.

The contract will provide workers with access to the six-hospital system and will provide workers with access to 3,000 specialty and primary care doctors. Employees will also have access to the hospital system’s pharmacy and emergency room services. The offering is provided through GM’s “ConnectedCare” plan.

GM claims that the move is a step forward in helping the employer and employees offset rising health care costs. An improvement in employee health is also expected as a result of the partnership.

A growing number of companies are turning to partnerships with health care providers, as employee and employer health care costs rise. The National Business Group on Health reports that 3% of large companies are expected to contact providers and hospitals personally in 2018 in an attempt to work on better health care options. This figure is expected to rise to 11% in 2019.

Direct contracts between providers and companies are being formed for expensive treatments, including those for orthopedic needs, cancer, infertility and heart disease. Just under 20% of companies stated that they will work on lowering these costs in 2019 by discussing direct contracts with participating hospitals.

Telemedicine is also on the rise, with 50% of employers claiming that telemedicine is on top of their health care initiatives in 2019. Medical and pharmacy benefit costs are projected to rise 5% to $14,8000 on average in 2018. Companies are the ones covering the majority of the costs, with 70% of these costs being placed on companies.

Higher out-of-pocket and deductible costs have been imposed on workers, which have been responsible for fronting the costs for health care increases. Many employees are opting to contact medical supply companies and work on discounts that are offered for cash payments. Workers, often forced into high deductible plans, which 39% of companies offered as an only option in 2018, leaving many unable to meet the deductible for essential medical equipment, such as wheelchairs or mobility aids.

Healthcare organizations are also turning to new technology to help build networks that have higher interoperability. These networks would allow for information to be shared among clinical researchers, pharmacies, payers, providers and others using blockchain solutions.

Studies suggest that 20% of healthcare organizations will use blockchain technology, which runs on a ledger system, to begin exchanging information. The exchange of information will be streamlined, allowing many organizations to reduce costs and the time it takes to exchange information.

Healthcare communication is a primary target for angel investors and startups that want to improve healthcare around the world. Klara, a startup that is working on improving communication in the industry, recently landed $11.5 million in funding to enhance communication in the healthcare industry.

Businesses may begin investing in these startups in an effort to reduce the overall healthcare costs that continue to weigh on profits.