Shifting Health-Care Costs to Workers Could Increase Uninsured
September 27, 2001
Employers are under increasing pressure to shift more health-care costs onto their workers. Some workers -- especially those at smaller companies facing health-premium increases of 20 percent to 30 percent or more for 2002 -- may not be able to afford the increases and may be forced to drop coverage for themselves and their families.
- The average family premium for those with employer-sponsored insurance is now about $7,000 per year, according to the Center for Studying Health System Change.
- The center says that spending for hospital care -- not prescription drugs -- accounted for the largest share of overall health-care costs last year.
- But prescription-drug costs have continued to escalate -- growing by 15 percent last year and accounting for 27 percent of the overall rise in health-care costs.
- Employees could be asked to assume higher co-payments for doctor and hospital visits -- or they may be required to pay a larger portion of insurance premiums.
Experts say that the shift can be traced to the need for employers to pare their costs of doing business in order to survive the current faltering economy.
Source: Ron Winslow, "U.S. Workers Stand to Pay More for Health Care," Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2001.
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