2018 Medical Plan Trends and Observations Report
2017 presented employers with more of the same—uncertainty about the future of employee benefits in general (and health care in particular) and a predicted average 6% increase in health care costs for 2018. While Congress debated Obamacare repeal and the tax bill, most employers were trying to set their benefits strategy for the upcoming plan year(s) and finalize plan designs. As a result, there once again was little fluctuation in benefit strategy, with employers reluctant to make wholesale changes in their benefit packages.
This report covers medical plan observations for all plan types for 2018, and is based on an analysis of 907 employee benefit health plans drawn from The Lab (powered by DirectPath) and Gartner research. While 10 major industry groupings were represented, the majority of employers were in the health care, manufacturing and transportation sectors; 70% of employers had 8,100 or more employees. As was the case last year, this report highlights trends in employer health care strategies in the following major categories:
- Flattening Plan Design Cost Shifts
- Sustainable Cost-Saving Mechanisms
- Convenient and High-Quality Health Care Options