Inflation’s Toll: Some Serious Consequences, But Maybe a Silver Lining | Managed Healthcare Executive® State of the Industry Survey

MHE Publication, MHE January 2023, Volume 33, Issue 1

Higher costs for employers and consumers, major layoffs, a decline in the quality of care are some consequences seen by respondents to the Managed Healthcare Executive® State of the Industry survey. Investment in technology that will improve efficiency might be a silver lining.

The recent news about inflation is that it may be easing just a little. However, prices in December 2022 were still 6.5% than they were in December 2021. Inflation and its consequences are the main economic concerns of the day.

Inflation’s effect on the healthcare sector tends to lag, partly because premiums and payment rates get locked in for periods of a year, sometime more. If the respondents to the Segal Health Plan Cost Trend Survey are correct, premiums for open-access preferred provider and point of service plans will increase by 7.4% this year, driven, in part, by double-digit increase in the cost of specialty drugs.

Respondents to the Managed Healthcare Executive® annual State of the Industry survey saw inflation as having several effects. Most (52%) indicated that they believe that costs will be passed on employers and consumers. A fairly large proportion (40%) said that major layoffs will occur, but one-third (33%) see a silver lining: Spending on technology will increase in an effort to increase efficiency. The same proportion — 30% — see operating margins decreasing and the quality of care suffering.