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The future of employer-sponsored health care

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In WFAE’s ongoing series “The Price We Pay,” we examine why the United States spends more on health care than other wealthy countries, despite getting worse results.

In this installment of Charlotte Talks, we look at the cost of employer-sponsored health plans in the U.S. and why they remain expensive for employers and employees alike.

Last year, more than half of Americans younger than 65 received employer-sponsored insurance. But the cost to cover those employees has increased significantly in recent years — family premiums have risen 55% over the last decade. While employers continue to pay 70% of the total, employees cover the rest.

Some companies have tried to lower costs by, for example, providing virtual care, working directly with doctors or promoting preventive care, but successful outcomes are lacking. Many companies agree a better solution would involve federal action: a survey of more than 300 large companies’ top executives found 85% think the government should intervene to promote competition and price transparency.

As employers continue to provide health care for hundreds of millions of Americans, we sit down with health policy experts to understand the costs, benefits and sustainability of employer-sponsored health insurance.

Guests

Paul Goldbeck, senior consultant and large market Health and Group benefits lead at Willis Towers Watson in Charlotte

Frank Wharam, professor of medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Duke University

Michael E. Chernew, professor of health care policy and director of the Healthcare Markets and Regulation Lab at Harvard Medical School

Jesse Steinmetz is Producer of Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins. Before joining WFAE in 2019, he was an intern at WNPR in Hartford, Connecticut and hosted a show at Eastern Connecticut State University.