WASHINGTON—With continued strains on state budgets, governors are finding innovative ways to do more with less across state government. Included in those budget strains are the rising health care costs and rising insurance premiums for state employee health care benefits. A new issue brief released today by the National Governors Association (NGA) examines ways to provide state employees with access to quality care at lower costs rather than simply raising premiums or cutting health benefits.

Strategies for Curbing Health Insurance Costs for State Employees: Benefit Design, Wellness Programs and Data Mining examines several models for employees’ insurance plans, including: 

  • Collecting and analyzing data to understand rising health care costs and inform decisions about changes in health plans;
  • Offering wellness programs and incentives for state employees to improve health outcomes by preventing chronic diseases and reducing the costs of treatment; and
  • Introducing new health benefit plans such as high-deductible or consumer driven health plans; health plans designed to maximize the value of expenditures; and plans that offer tiered or limited provider networks. 

“States are addressing rising health care costs in their state employee benefit programs in a variety of innovative ways,” said Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy. “While there is no one best way to slow increasing costs and support improvements in employee health, it is important that states examine more closely what kind of care they are paying for to ensure that we get more out of limited resources.”  

To learn more about the NGA Center for Best Practices Health Division, please visit www.nga.org/cms/center/health. For NGA’s virtual resource center on potential solutions to health policy problems, visit http://statepolicyoptions.nga.org.