2021 Health Care Trends

By Chris Van Buren, Partner

WARRINGTON, PA, October 14, 2021 – The US Health Care system has been strained and stressed due to the pandemic. However, silver linings have emerged. A bright prospect was the push that accelerated change in areas where they were most needed; virtual care (telemedicine), mental health and better primary care.

In the Business Group on Health’s 2021 Large Employers’ Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey,SM they identified seven Top Trends and Emerging Concerns for employers:

  •  Health and well-being’s role in workforce strategy
  •  Virtual care ubiquity
  •  Health care costs are a moving target
  •  Mental health stays in the spotlight
  •  Delivery reform efforts overshadowed yet underscored by COVID-19
  •  High-cost drugs top pharmacy concerns
  •  Despite the pandemic, on-site services will grow and play a critical role in 2021

Though the survey was intended for Large Employers, we see the small and mid-market mostly following suit. Our thoughts on a few of the findings:

Despite the pandemic, on-site services will grow and furthermore play a critical role in 2021

For small and mid-market accounts, this trend is finding Advanced Primary Care solutions, like Direct Primary Care or Virtual Primary Care, that are affordable and accessible to the masses, not just large employers.  These solutions can be implemented with fully insured or self-funded plans. This is a top issue that can provide huge bumps in employee satisfaction and control costs.

Mental health stays in the spotlight

 A benefit of this crisis has been less stigma associated with, and more acceptance of, mental health issues. Now the challenge is finding doctors and therapists available to our employees. New services that were in infancy before COVID have sprung into action to fill this need, mostly through video or telephonic sessions. The most effective services are add-ons to a medical plan, but carriers have made attempts to bolster their plans with mental health services. The problem with may carriers’ plans is the lack of in-network therapists and physicians.

High-cost drugs top pharmacy concerns

 High cost specialty drugs take up a hugely disproportional spend of Rx spend. It’s not uncommon for 2% of the dispensed prescriptions to account for 60-70% of the overall Rx spend. And Rx spend is often 25% or more of the overall health plan spend. The best solutions to attack these specialty drug costs usually require plans to be self-funded, which is one of the key drivers of small and mid-market looking to leave fully insured plans.

KMRD can help build health plans that use some or all of the solutions mentioned above. Please reach out to learn more or if you are interested in a Health Plan Opportunity Assessment.

Chris Van Buren, Partner

About the Author: Chris is a Senior Relationship Manager and Partner at KMRD, who is interested in taking a new approach to healthcare benefits. Chris has applied and then analyzed a modern day healthcare perspective; “healthcare supply chain management.” This model ultimately favors employee healthcare correlating to the increase of company productivity and morale. To learn more about Chris please visit here.

KMRD Partners, Inc. specializes in providing Risk Management, Insurance Brokerage, and Human Capital Solutions. Our award-winning team, disciplined approach, proven processes, combined with our Risk Management Portal make KMRD the leading choice for existing clients and future partners looking to improve protection and reduce the overall cost of risk. Founded in 2005 – and with over 2000 clients nationwide, 40 staff members, and three offices operating in the Greater Philadelphia area – KMRD is one of the nation’s fastest growing independent agencies with double digit revenue growth each year for over 10 years running.

For more information, contact KMRD online or call 866-957-5673. Follow KMRD on Twitter @KMRDPartners, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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