Balancing Quality Care and Rising Costs
How understanding the real cost of your medical plan can help
“Quality, convenient, affordable health care” is our mantra when it comes to providing health benefits for our Purdue family. We know it’s important to you, and it’s important to us, too. Yet, striking a balance between quality and cost is a challenge in today’s environment.
Healthcare costs across the country continue to rise at a rate of 5.5 percent a year* — double and triple the rate of inflation. Prescriptions** and chronic illnesses*** lead the pack, comprising some of the most significant costs. Purdue is experiencing much of the same as what we’re seeing nationally. Since 2014, our total costs have jumped more than $20 million, with Purdue responsible for covering the increase.
These ever-increasing costs mean a few things for the Purdue community:
- First, we must continually evaluate our health plans and make changes to provide care that both you and the university can afford. It’s a yearlong process — in fact, as soon as we end benefits enrollment for one year, we are immediately working on the next.
- We cannot balance quality and cost without you. You share in the cost of coverage, paying 12 percent of the cost of your medical premiums (well below the national average of 23 percent). Plus, you stretch healthcare dollars just a bit further when you make smart decisions throughout the year (think generic prescriptions, in-network care and preventive services).
- Lastly, NOW is the time to begin researching your medical plan options for 2020 to find the one that makes the most financial sense based on the healthcare needs of you and your family. Do you know where your dollars are going? Is the plan you’re on the best for you? Are you taking advantage of Purdue’s programs that give you money for healthcare expenses? Don’t assume you will pay more on one of the HSA plans. Our medical plan cost analysis based primarily on LHD Benefit Advisors’ “Summary of Consumer Directed Health Plan Enrollment & Utilization Compared to a Traditional Plan” report – reveals that the opposite is true — many are actually saving more with an HSA plan. Plus, some think they have more coverage on the PPO plan — also an untrue assumption. All plans offer the same amount of coverage. How and when you pay is the main difference.
You can schedule one-on-one assistance with Purdue Human Resources (HR) benefits’ representatives to help you more clearly understand the differences between the available plans and determine which one would best fit the needs for you (and your family if applicable). In the next few weeks you will be provided information on how to schedule.
We encourage you to view our cost analysis and take a look at your expenses and expected healthcare needs for the year ahead and continue to evaluate your options. You’ll make elections for 2020 later this fall, and we will continue to provide information along the way to help you prepare.
*Wall Street Journal
**Average annual prescription spend is $1,025 per person; Healthsystemstracker.org (2017 data)
***Chronic illness eats up 75% of the $2.6 trillion U.S. spends annually on healthcare; Wall Street Journal