Executives: Costs of health care benefits becoming unsustainable

A majority of employers say government should have a greater role in providing health care coverage and covering costs.

Corporate executives are looking for government intervention to stem the growing the price of health care benefits.

According to a survey performed by the Purchaser Business Group on Health and the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than four of five employers believe that the cost of providing health benefits will become unsustainable in the next five to 10 year necessitating a greater role for government providing coverage and controlling costs.

Nearly all of the respondents agree that the cost of health benefits is excessive, with 49 percent moderately agreeing and 33 percent considerably or strongly agreeing. Only four percent of the respondents do not believe that health care benefit costs are excessive, according to the survey.

A large majority of the respondents, 75 percent, believe that they can change the cost of health benefits overall and for their own companies, 77 percent. When asked why they believed that, the respondents mentioned the ability to adjust employee costs or benefits as well as the initiation of wellness programs, according to the survey.

Despite this belief, though, 87 percent of respondents believe the cost of providing employee health benefits will be unsustainable in the next five to 10 years and a further 85 percent say that government intervention in providing coverage will be necessary. Overall, 83 percent say that government intervention would benefit their business and 86 percent say it would help their employees, the survey says.

A vast majority of respondents, 92 percent agree that policymakers should pursue anti-trust enforcement and prohibiting anti-competitive conduct by physicians, pharmaceutical companies, and health plans. A further 90 percent say they should improve price transparency and the total cost of care. A smaller segment of respondents, 56 percent, think policymakers should reduce barriers to the development and production of generic drugs and biosimilars, according to the survey.