NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Employers Shifting Health Care Costs to Workers, Survey Shows

September 3, 2010

Amid high unemployment and a weak economy, employers have been shifting health care costs to workers, according to a study released Thursday.

  • The premiums that employees pay for employer-sponsored family coverage rose an average of 13.7 percent this year, while the amount that employers contribute fell by 0.9 percent.
  • Workers are paying an average of $3,997 for family coverage, up $482 from last year, while employers are paying an average of $9,773, down $87, according to the survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust.

Overall, premiums for employer-sponsored coverage -- the amounts paid by employer and employee combined -- rose an average of 3 percent for family coverage and 5 percent for single coverage, says the Washington Post.

  • Workers with health benefits are paying an average of 30 percent of the premium for family coverage and 19 percent of the premium for single coverage this year, the highest in 12 years of surveys by the two organizations.
  • Last year, workers were paying an average of 27 percent of the premium for family coverage and 17 percent for single coverage.
  • Since 2005, employees' premium payments have gone up 47 percent while overall premiums have risen 27 percent.
  • Over the same period, wages have increased 18 percent and the consumer price index has risen 12 percent, reports the Post.

Thirty percent of employers offering health benefits reported that this year they reduced the scope of benefits or increased cost-sharing because of the economic downturn.  Increasingly, employers are offering insurance plans with high deductibles.  Twenty-seven percent of employees with health benefits now have annual deductibles of at least $1,000, up from 22 percent last year, the organizations said.

Source: David S. Hilzenrath, "Employers shifting health care costs to workers," Washington Post, September 2, 2010.

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