For Immediate Release
February 19, 2019

Top 5 Ways Employers Are Controlling Health Care Costs
Employers Offering Telemedicine Is up 45% From 2016

Brookfield, Wisconsin—Each year, employers face rising health care costs and must carefully consider the actions they will take to control spending while continuing to deliver effective health care coverage. A recent report from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans examines the prevalence of employer cost-management techniques used by corporate employers across the United States.

The most popular techniques employers are using to control rising health care costs are:

  1. Case management services to identify barriers that may prevent individuals from getting the best care (71%)
  2. Nurse advice lines that provide a 24-hour resource for employees to receive answers to their health-related questions (68%)
  3. Prior authorization requirements to determine if a treatment is medically necessary (65%)
  4. Health care claims utilization analysis to pinpoint the top health concerns of their workforce and to address areas of concern (61%)
  5. Telemedicine, which allows health care professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients online or over the phone (63%).

Other common techniques include dependent eligibility audits (43%), four tiers for cost-sharing (40%), price transparency/comparison tools (38%), health care claims audits (37%) and health care consumer education (36%).

"Telemedicine stands out as the fastest growing health care cost-management technique among employers," said Julie Stich, CEBS, associate vice president of content at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans. "In 2016, 44 percent of employers offered telemedicine options. By 2018, that number had jumped to 64 percent. Employees appreciate the 24/7 convenience of telemedicine, and both employers and employees see savings because costly trips to urgent care clinics or emergency rooms might be avoided."

Smaller but still significant numbers of employers are using other cost-management techniques like spousal surcharges or carve-outs, where spouses are discouraged or blocked from enrolling in the plan (25%), and opt-out incentives, where participants are monetarily encouraged not to enroll in their health care plan (13%).

For more information, or to access a copy of the report Employee Benefits Survey: 2018 Results, visit


The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is the premier educational organization dedicated to providing the diverse employee benefits community with objective, solution-oriented education, research and information to ensure the health and financial security of plan beneficiaries worldwide. The Foundation has more than 31,500 multiemployer, corporate and public sector members representing over 25 million lives. For additional information, visit