Colorado Employer-Sponsored Health Care Costs Will Increase
Costs for employer-sponsored health insurance in Colorado for fiscal year 2009 are projected to increase by 13.7%, higher than the national average of 6% to 8% for the same period, according to respondents in the 2009 Colorado Employer Benefits Survey Report released on Friday by the Lockton Benefit Group, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports (Newsome, Colorado Springs Gazette, 10/30).
Two-thirds of the 125 businesses that responded to the survey also reported that they would transfer some of the cost increase to their employees (Migoya/Jaffe, Denver Post, 10/31). Workers likely would cover as much as 25% of the cost increase, the respondents said (Colorado Springs Gazette, 10/30).
Bill Lindsey, president of the Denver division of Lockton, said the annual cost-shifting of premiums, deductibles and employee out-of-pocket costs "gets worse and worse each year." He added, "Employers are passing on health costs, and at some point, we are going to reach the breaking point." He added, "Employers are only going to give small merit-pay increases this year, the cost of gas and heating a home are rising, and at some point people are going to say, 'Hey, we're pretty healthy' and not pay for health insurance."
Lindsey said a possible reason for the higher premium cost increases could be that the state's small-business population is higher than elsewhere, while it has fewer unions that can negotiate with insurers for lower premiums. In addition, Lindsey said Colorado's uninsured population stands at 17%, compared to the national average of 15.9%, which contributes to the increase in costs (Denver Post, 10/31).
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