Washington, DC – The following statement should be attributed to Annette Guarisco Fildes, President and CEO of The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC):
Today’s release of the Kaiser Family Foundation 2020 Employer Health Benefits Survey highlights the critical role employer-sponsored health benefit plans play in providing stability for millions of workers and their families across the nation, especially during such a turbulent year.
Large employers, like ERIC member companies, strive to offer the best benefits to their unique, individual workforces. And while this year’s survey shows that premiums rose by 4 percent, providing employees with easy access to high quality health care at a low cost remains a top priority for employers. ERIC member companies are working to find cost-savings measures not by cutting benefits, but through innovation, including using value-based purchasing and encouraging the use of generic drugs and biosimilars.
Biosimilars provide employees with safe, cost-effective alternatives to more expensive biologic medications. An ERIC study found that in 2018, all U.S. self-insured companies had could have saved $1.4 billion on just two biologics in 2018 if they utilized better biosimilar substitution in their drug spend. We expect to see more plans including and expanding their list of covered biosimilars and implementing plan designs to drive the use of high-value drugs and treatments over the next few years. More could be done if Congress would take action on prescription drug costs, including transparency in drug prices and the supply chain.
Another change that would have an immediate impact on health care costs is ending surprise medical billing. ERIC is working with the Administration and Congress to end this predatory practice and bring predictability to the health care system. A recent study found that if Congress took action on compromise surprise billing legislation supported by Republicans and Democrats in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, Americans’ health insurance premiums would have gone down by about five percent. Unfortunately, Congress – and the Administration – have failed us.
An additional area where savings can be found is in telemedicine. For more than five years, ERIC and our member companies have led the way is incorporating telemedicine into health plans, so we are not surprised that the Kaiser Survey showed a significant jump in telemedicine use. Telemedicine gives employees and their families access to quality health care when and where they need it while offering the potential for significant cost-savings. ERIC strongly believes that because the costs related to providing telemedicine are much lower than that of an in-person visit, it should be reflected in the price charged to patients. Telemedicine also helps create robust market competition, driving costs down, and quality up – exactly what patients and plan sponsors want and need.
This year, while extremely difficult, shows the importance employers place on their employees’ well-being and the vital role health care plays in all of our lives.”