Employers have big plans to change digital health offerings, survey finds

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Employers will make changes to their roster of digital health and wellness solutions in the next two years, according to a new survey from WTW, a global benefits consulting company.

WTW (formerly Willis Towers Watson) surveyed 232 U.S.-based employers covering 3 million people from a variety of industries. Here were the biggest takeaways:

  • 88% of companies are planning to make health and wellness benefit program changes in the next two years. Wellness programs will see the biggest turnover as 55% of employers plan to make changes in this space. 
  • 46% of companies have made changes to their digital health solutions in the past year. The majority of these changes came in solutions for specific clinical conditions such as diabetes or musculoskeletal disease. 
  • Around 42% of employers said they are going to change their clinical solution offerings in 2023 or 2024, while 37% of respondents will change their mental health solutions. 
  • Return on investment is a key metric in evaluating which programs employers choose. 44% of respondents say vendor reporting lacks employer-specific information on how programs will drive cost savings.
  • Respondents identified mental health, digital platforms and navigation and advocacy programs as the areas of highest priority in the next two years. 
  • Pharmacy benefits were the least likely area to receive attention. 70% of respondents said they plan on making no significant changes to this area.
  • Only 4% of survey respondents reported not making plan changes or having future changes in place.

Since the mid-2010s and until recently, digital health companies selling to employers had found an enthusiastic audience eager to stand out in a tight labor market by offering a variety of digital health solutions. But with health insurance premiums rising, employee benefits managers are paring digital health options, forcing digital health companies to adapt and focus primarily on integration and cost savings. 

“Employers are also struggling with understanding the value that point solutions have made to their employee base and will continue to have to adopt new emerging solutions that achieve both value and more relevant solutions that achieve better engagement,” said Regina Ihrke, senior director at WTW, in an emailed statement. 

This story first appeared in Digital Health Business & Technology.

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