More than two-thirds (69 per cent) of U.S. employers say they’re focused on managing health-care plan costs, following a projected cost increase of 6.4 per cent in 2024, according to a new survey by WTW.

The survey, which polled more than 450 U.S. employers, found 63 per cent said they’re focused on enhancing mental-health and emotional well-being programs, followed by improvements to the employee experience (40 per cent), communication (38 per cent), diversity, equity and inclusion (37 per cent) and employee affordability (34 per cent).

More than a third (37 per cent) of employers said they’re currently implementing programs or using vendors that will reduce costs and 50 per cent are planning or considering doing so in the next two years.

Read: U.S. employers’ health benefits costs expected to rise 5.4% per employee: survey

Nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of respondents said they’re planning or considering offering a narrow network of higher-quality and/or lower-cost providers in the next two years, while 19 per cent said they’re planning or considering using centres of excellence within health plans.

More than half (53 per cent) said they’ve conducted or plan to conduct a mental-health parity audit and 48 per cent said they’ve engaged or plan to engage with employee resource groups to address population-specific mental-health issues.

The survey also found a quarter (27 per cent) of employers said they’re planning to require employees to switch, when available, to biosimilars in the next two years, while 16 per cent said they’ll require employees to switch by 2025. Two-fifths (38 per cent) of employers said they cover obesity medications, while six per cent said they plan to cover them in 2024 and 16 per cent are considering doing so in 2025.

“Aligning business priorities, from workforce transformation to health-care costs to employee well-being, requires a constant evolution of benefits programs, culture and employee experience,” said Regina Ihrke, senior director of health and benefits at WTW, in a press release. “By doing so, companies can alleviate strains on attracting and retaining talent, enhance worker health and productivity and gain competitive advantage.”

Read: Head to head: Should private drug plans require biosimilar non-medical switching?