Businesses will spend six percent more on healthcare benefits in 2017 than they did this year, according to an annual survey by the National Business Group on Health. To the casual observer, this might appear to be good news, since the upcoming price hike is no greater than last year's. However, despite this relatively steady growth rate, healthcare costs continue to climb faster than wages on average, suggesting consumers will be forced to put even more of their paychecks toward medicine.
"While employers have been able to keep increases in checkfor the past few years, costs are still running at more than twice the rate of inflation and general wage increases, thereby threatening affordability," said Brian Marcotte, president and CEO of NBGH in a press release. "These cost increases, while stable, are both unsustainable and unacceptable."
Nearly one-third of the 133 surveyed employers indicated that specialty pharmacy costs were the number one driver behind this spike in spending - up from just 6 percent in 2014. Rounding out the list of the three biggest culprits were high cost claimants and specific diseases and conditions.