According to non-profit association National Business Group on Health, next year significantly more large employers will offer telehealth services to their employees than this year. The survey, which was conducted in June, included responses from 140 of the largest companies in the US.
The employers survey expect their health care benefits costs to increase 6 percent in 2016, but many plan to lower the increase to 5 percent by making plan changes like cost-sharing provisions, adopting consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs), and rolling out new or expanded wellness initiatives.
While 48 percent of the employers offer telehealth services to employees currently, the survey found that 74 percent of employers in states where telehealth services are legal, plan to offer them in the coming year. The association characterized this spike as a "sharp increase in telehealth".
Some 81 percent of respondents plan to offer nurse coaching for care and condition management, while 73 percent expect to offer nurse coaching for lifestyle management. About 73 percent offer employees self-service decision-making tools that aim to help become better healthcare consumers.
A majority of employers surveyed, 83 percent, said they will offer CDHPs in 2016. A similar number -- 81 percent -- offered them this year.
Finally, one in three of those employers surveyed said they plan to make a small increase to the percentage of premiums employees pay for individual and family coverage and about 25 percent will tick up deductibles too.