Employees Pay 48% More for Company Health Plans

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by zimv20, Sep 10, 2003.

  1. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #1
    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/10/business/10CARE.html?pagewanted=print&position=

    September 10, 2003

    Employees Pay 48% More for Company Health Plans

    By MILT FREUDENHEIM

    eople in employer-sponsored health plans are paying 48 percent more out of their own pockets for care than they did three years ago, according to an authoritative new study, and the cost will be even higher next year.

    Almost two-thirds of large employers raised the amounts that employees are contributing to the cost of their health plans this year, and 79 percent say they will do so again in 2004, according to the study, by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust.

    Other health care experts are projecting that 2004 will be the fourth straight year of double-digit increases in health insurance premiums.

    The steady climb in costs has made health care benefits a hot issue in labor negotiations this year, and it has put pressure on Congress to reach agreement on adding a drug benefit to Medicare. The sponsors of the study said yesterday that health care costs were also a significant drag on the economy.

    "Workers pay substantially more, companies raise prices and they hire fewer people," said Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which specializes in health care issues.

    Out-of-pocket spending for insurance premiums, deductibles and drug co-payments rose to $2,790 this year for a typical employee with family coverage, from $1,890 in 2000, Mr. Altman said.

    Over all, according to the Kaiser study, health care premiums rose 13.9 percent this year, the biggest increase since 1990, outpacing the 11 percent rise in spending for hospitals and doctors, and far ahead of the 2.4 percent increase in manufacturers' prices. The increase was 15.6 percent for small employers with fewer than 300 workers.

    Health care economists say that the rising costs reflect advances in drugs and health care technology and a loosening of managed care restraints during the prosperous 1990's.

    Employers still pay the bulk of the costs — typically at least 75 percent. But the study found that most employers are shifting more costs to workers, in hopes of lowering the expense by discouraging heavy use of doctors, hospitals and prescription drugs.

    Deductibles and co-payments for hospital care, which were uncommon only a few years ago, were required by 4 in 10 plans this year, the study found, and higher co-payments for expensive prescription drugs have been widely adopted.

    "Given the state of the economy and the rapid rate of inflation, I don't think we have seen the worst of increased cost-sharing with employees," said Jon Gabel, vice president of the Health Research and Educational Trust, a nonprofit group based in Washington. The study is based on the responses of 928 employers to a survey about their health care spending.

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  2. Desertrat macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Location:
    Terlingua, Texas
    #2
    I got to checking on health insurance policies in general. One thing I found was that as the amount of coverage increases, the premiums increase dramatically.

    For instance, for several years I had an individual policy which did not include pregnancy coverage nor any elective surgery. It did not cover the casual office visits for colds and sniffles. At age 60, I paid a premium of $135 per month. I was covered against the costs associated with strokes, cancer, car wrecks, etc. at about 80% of fees/charges and then 100% after the annual deductible was used up.

    Some years back, I ran across the datum that FoMoCo spends more money on employees' health insurance than on the steel for its cars.

    'Bout all I can say is, "TANSTAAFL".

    Guess folks oughta concentrate on not smoking and on eating healthily...

    :), 'Rat
     
  3. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #3
    But wouldn't that curtail those precious "personal freedoms" that include the right to choose your poison? At least thats the arguement you made for allowing people to choose to drive an SUV. I think your words were something to the effect of "You have the right to make stupid decisions...":)
     

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