82% of employers say healthcare affordability impacts workforce retention

Rising healthcare costs impact employer efforts to attract and retain talent, with 73 percent of employers saying healthcare costs crowd out salary and wage increases and 82 percent saying it impacts their ability to remain competitive, according to a new study from the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions.

The Pulse of the Purchaser study polled 152 employers from August and September 2022, ranging from large organizations with over 10,000 employees to mid-sized companies with less than 1,000. It measured concerns and strategies implemented by employers to address the workforce environment, healthcare benefits, and threats to the affordability of employer-sponsored coverage for employees and their families, according to a Nov. 2 news release. 

"The consensus among many of the responding employers is that attracting and retaining employees has become a street fight. Concerns about a recession and runaway inflation make it even more critical that employers are able to hire and keep top talent and getting unreasonable healthcare costs under control has a far-reaching impact on wages and ability to compete," said Michael Thompson, president and CEO of the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions. 

Key findings from the report: 

  • Attracting and retaining employees is a top priority, with 78 percent of employers strongly agreeing that its importance has increased post-pandemic and 100 percent strongly agreeing that health and well-being benefits are critical to achieving.
  • The three largest threats to affordability include drug prices, high-cost claims, and hospital costs. 
  • Ninety-three percent of employers familiar with transparency tools said hospital consolidation had not improved cost or quality of service. 
  • On purchasing strategies, 47 percent of employers currently use centers of excellence, 46 percent are considering tiered networks in the next one to three years, 43 percent are looking at the site of care, and 36 percent are considering contracting and performance guarantees tied to Medicare and reference-based pricing. 
  • Two out of three employers permit some remote work, but 93 percent say accommodating a hybrid workforce creates challenges, and 31 percent disagree with the need to adapt or modify health and well-being strategies to accommodate a hybrid workforce.

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