The more things change, the more they stay the same. Photo: Getty Images.

Repeal? Replace? It’s anyone’s guess. The one thing we can be certain about following this election is more changes are coming to health care and, as usual, employers will need to adapt. But regardless of what happens in Congress, what President Trump or Speaker Ryan propose, or who is the new head of CMS, my money is on some things staying exactly the same. Our employer-based health care system is not going away. I speak to a lot of health care leaders every day, and getting out my crystal ball, here are five health care trends I don’t see abating any time soon. With the right strategies, benefits professionals can stay ahead of the curve in trying to manage costs and quality in these turbulent times.

1. High deductible plans and cost sharing are here to stay. If anything, the new leadership’s plans place even greater reliance on HSAs. Most of us have already been getting our employees used to cost sharing, and this trend is expected to continue and even accelerate. But just offering high deductible plans is equivalent to throwing your employees into the deep end of the pool; several studies show employees don’t often shop around and do often skip needed care. Our own research last summer found that 42 percent of employees believe they don’t have the information they need to make important medical decisions. We want them to spend their money (and yours) wisely and go to high quality providers to get the care they need (and not care they don’t need). To accomplish this, savvy employers must continue to turn to strategies like partnerships with organizations that offer consumer education and navigation. We want our employees shopping around based on cost, but also based on quality. 

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