Get Ready to Pay More for Health Coverage
Employers plan to hike premiums, copays, penalties for obese
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2010 7:16 AM CST
In this photo taken Oct. 22, 2009, Constantina Guzman listens to discharge instructions from a nurse via a medical interpreting hotline at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.   (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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(Newser) – Large companies have big plans for their employees' health plans next year: sizable premium hikes, higher deductibles and co-payments, higher charges for covering spouses, penalties for results of certain lab tests, and tighter eligibility standards that may even exclude overweight people from the most desirable health plans. That's what 507 major employers said in a recent survey about health care costs.

"The constant, unrelenting increases in health care costs are going to cost employees and their families more and more," the head of the business group behind the study told the Washington Post. But some say the companies are making empty threats, at least when it comes to passing along a higher percentage of premiums: Despite economic hard times, employees are paying only 1% more of the total premium for their coverage—21%—than they were last year.