Cost of Employer-Sponsored Healthcare Increased 4.1% in 2012

Friday, 16 Nov 2012 08:16 AM

By Peter Moses

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With Obamacare lurking on the horizon, the politics of providing health care to all Americans is still a hot political potato. But the costs of providing those benefits crept up just 4.1 percent last year, the smallest jump in 15 years, according to a new report from benefits consulting firm Mercer.

Still, the smaller than average increase comes with a caveat, the Los Angeles Times reported. With open enrollment in full swing, American workers are finding employers offering more high-deductible health plans, which shift some of the cost from the employer onto the worker.

The minimum deductible for these plans with a health savings account is $2,400 for a family this year and $2,500 next year under federal rules, according to the Times.

Editor's Note: You Owe It to Yourself to Know What Obama and Bernanke Are Hiding From Americans

The report found that 36 percent of large employers offered consumer-directed, high-deductible health plans in 2012, up from 14 percent five years ago. Enrollment in this type of plan has jumped to 16 percent of all covered employees, as opposed to 5 percent in 2007.

"Employers are very aware that in 2014, when the health reform law's provisions kick in, they will be asked to cover more employees and face added cost pressure," said Julio Portalatin, CEO of Mercer. "They've taken bold steps to soften the impact and it's paying off already."

According to the survey, employers expect another modest increase of 5 percent next year. In the early 2000s, employers reported increases of 10 percent to nearly 15 percent a year.

The new plans with higher deductibles carry premiums that are about 20 percent less than other types of plans.

The average premium cost for both the employer and the employee combined was $10,558 per employee this year, with the combined cost for large companies averaging $11,003 per employee and $9,913 at smaller companies.

For the first time in three years there was an upswing in the percentage of employers offering coverage for workers, up to 59 percent from 55 percent last year, the report stated.

Editor's Note: You Owe It to Yourself to Know What Obama and Bernanke Are Hiding From Americans

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