Employees with Company Health Insurance Will Pay More

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If you are an employee with a big company and you have health insurance, chances are your employer will continue to provide you with insurance. However, 88 percent of employers plan to pass along increases in health care to their employees, which in turn will make it hardly anymore affordable for the workers.

According to Mark Maselli, who is the head of Towers Watson’s North American Health and Group Benefits unit, employees could soon be paying more in insurance co-payments or deductibles or be provided with a higher-deductible plan.

Towers Watson recently released the results of its survey, in which the benefits consultant firm queried 661 big companies (median size, 5,600 employees) and found that 94 percent of the respondents believe the health reform law recently passed will raise costs. Among those respondents, 88 percent said they will pass along the increases to their employees, and 74 percent said they will likely reduce health benefits and programs.

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Maselli cautioned that health insurance benefits could change as the new reform laws go into effect over the next few years, so he did not think employees needed to panic. However, he added that “it’s something you want to monitor over time.”

Price hikes could come as early as next year, which is when the provisions that ban lifetime maximums for benefits kicks in and health insurance coverage for young adult dependents who stay on their parents’ plans to age 26 also begins. Employees may soon find themselves digging deeper into their pockets to pay for these changes.

The survey also revealed that while big companies plan to continue offering health promotion and wellness program, 43 percent of companies that now offer retiree benefits say they expect to reduce or eliminate them. It seems inevitable that employees who have health insurance through their company will be paying more, and possibly for less, in the near future.

SOURCE:
Towers Watson press release, May 25, 2010

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