Washington, D.C. — The National Association of Manufacturers released a new study analyzing manufacturers’ long-standing commitment to providing quality health care to their employees and the challenges they face. In their efforts to deliver high-quality, affordable health care to their teams, manufacturers often serve as health benefit designers, innovators and funders, yet their efforts are often constrained by the complexities, bureaucracy and ineffective design of the broader health care system. The study features recent surveys and interviews with manufacturers across the country, documenting the state of health benefits and emerging trends industrywide, as well as federal policy proposals that threaten to upend manufacturers’ ability to provide these benefits.
The study details some of the sources of cost pressure for manufacturers’ health care benefit coverage. Nearly half (49.4%) of manufacturers cited the management of chronic conditions as a greater contributor to increases in premium costs when compared to single health events impacting individuals and/or families (35.9%). The most significant single health events for manufacturers are surgery (56.1%), traumatic incident (50.9%) and cardiac incident (45.6%).
The study also illustrates changes in innovative health care benefits utilization in recent years—and the popularity of these benefits. As part of their measures to improve the value of health care spending, nearly 86% of manufacturers offer telemedicine benefits for primary care, and 63.7% offer telemedicine benefits for behavioral health; 34.5% provide high-performance networks or a narrow network of higher-quality and lower-cost providers; and 14.2% participate in Centers of Excellence—hospitals or health care facilities where patients continually return to receive primary care or treatment for acute conditions.
“Manufacturers are on the front lines of their communities, and delivery of health care is a critical, community-oriented undertaking that has stretched companies to their limits,” said NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray. “The public and private sector can work together more effectively to lower costs and address chronic conditions that pose serious health risks to manufacturing employees, their families and the public.”
- Designing health benefits is difficult and increasingly expensive for employers. To combat the high prices associated with providing benefits, tax benefits to employers offering health insurance must stay intact. Reducing or removing this benefit would impact the landscape of employer-sponsored coverage negatively.
- Health care must be affordable for employees to take advantage of services beyond what an employer underwrites. Congress should consider ways to make health care more affordable for employees and employers, looking at Health Savings Account and Flexible Savings Account rules as well as pharmacy benefit managers and their opaque business practices to lower health care costs.
- Manufacturers strive to be forward thinking and utilize tools such as primary care to support early interventions and improve outcomes for employees. Early intervention can reduce future costs, as chronic conditions ranging from diabetes and obesity to cancer and mental health contribute to costly premiums. It is necessary to develop ways to incentivize primary care. Early intervention through primary care can lead to detection of chronic conditions and reduce the associated risks and costs if they do occur.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs nearly 13 million men and women, contributes $2.90 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and accounts for 55% of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the NAM or to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.