The cost of health care in the United States has a reputation for being expensive, and deservedly so. According to a study by the Peterson and Kaiser Foundations, the United States spent more than $3.8 trillion on health care in 2019, and it will soon top $4 trillion.  Employers feel that they're held captive to annually escalating health plan benefit costs, and employees continue to see their share of premiums and out of pocket costs continue to increase at a higher pace than inflation and their paycheck.

Faced with this reality, as well as a future that promises even higher health care costs, current and prospective employees will value companies that have their health-related interests in mind. This is especially true following 2020 and the lingering impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Having an attractive health plan could mean the difference between retaining or losing top talent.

We're here to report that it's not all doom and gloom. Benefits advisors can help employers offer great, and even improved, health plan benefits to their employees, often at reduced costs, by breaking out of the box defined by traditional health plans. The trick is finding solutions that provide flexibility. Here are five cost levers advisors and employers can explore right now to offer employees improved benefits while also keeping costs in check.

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