Healthcare costs are one of the most difficult challenges facing manufacturers. In the 10 years ending in 2012, employer costs for employee healthcare increased 66 percent—an increase in the U.S. structural cost disadvantage by an average of 5.2 percentage points per year. To put the cost burden in perspective, overall producer prices for finished goods excluding food and energy only rose 1.8 percent a year. Employer-provided healthcare costs are growing several times faster than sales prices.
Manufacturers want to maintain their proud commitment to providing health benefits through affordable coverage by using electronic records to improve cost-effectiveness and quality of healthcare, preventing and managing chronic care of workers through education, and encouraging consumer-directed healthcare options.