Bolton Labor News: Edition No. 6: January 2024

By Bolton January 30th, 2024

Pulse of the Purchaser: Part 1 of 2

In December 2023, a nationwide survey was conducted by The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalition to assess the concerns and perspectives of benefit purchasers regarding the following aspects within health plans:

  • Workforce environment
  • Health strategies (e.g., whole person health, equity, women’s health, mental health, and obesity management)
  • Fiduciary perspectives
  • Hospital price strategies
  • Pharmaceutical drug strategies
  • High-cost claims strategies
  • Potential health reforms

The survey included 172 responses from private and public purchasers across the country with a wide range of sizes representing numerous industries –federal, state, or local government (18%), educational services (18%), manufacturing (14%), healthcare and social assistance (11%), retail/wholesale trade (8%), and finance and insurance (7%).

Key takeaways on purchaser perspectives on the current workforce/labor environment:

100% of health plans agree (81% strongly agree) that attracting and retaining talent is a top priority, but rising healthcare costs prove to be a significant challenge:

  • Rising healthcare costs impact an organization’s competitiveness (91% agree)
  • Costs impact an organization’s ability to remain competitive (82% agree)
  • Costs directly or indirectly crowd out salary or wage increases (73% agree)
  • Costs will result in further cost-shifting to members (91% agree)

Health plans agree that the most significant threats to affordability are drug prices (93%), high-cost claims (88%), and hospital prices (83%).