Companies Shift Health Costs to Employees

Even as insurance premium growth slows
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2010 11:16 AM CDT

(Newser) – Employers foisted a lot more health insurance costs onto their employees this year than last, even though premiums only inched upwards, according to an annual survey. Though premiums for businesses rose just 3% this year—their lowest increase in a decade—the cost the average employee was paying jumped 14%, the Wall Street Journal reports. “It’s the first time I can remember when employers have coped with costs by shifting it all to workers,” said the head of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which issued the survey.

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Employers are still paying about 70% of their workers’ premiums, but that’s down from 73% last year, and 74% five years ago. “It's no surprise, since businesses are struggling to keep their doors open,” said a US Chamber of Commerce rep. “The premium increase may have been modest but it's still a premium increase.” The number of workers shifted into high-deductible plans increased, too; now 17% of workers have deductibles over $1,000, compared to 6% in 2006. (Read more health care stories.)

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