Business owners and benefits managers whose companies currently pay for at
least some health-insurance benefits expect healthcare costs to jump an additional
12 percent over the next year, and they say they will ask their employees to
pay an average of 21 percent of the increase, according to a survey by the Robert
Wood Johnson Foundation.
Faced with rising healthcare costs, business owners say they must continue
to pass a portion of the increased costs on to their employees by requiring
them to pay a mounting share of the premiums, co-pays, or deductibles, a according
to the survey.
Four in five business owners (79 percent) who anticipate increases in their
health care costs say they are concerned about their employees' ability to shoulder
the projected increases.
Survey respondents estimate that their employees currently pay, on average,
29 percent of the cost of their own health insurance premiums-up six percentage
points from 2003. According to figures from the Kaiser Family Foundation and
the Health Research Educational Trust, premiums average $10,880 annually for
family coverage ($907 per month) in 2005, and $4,024 ($335 per month) for individual
More than one-third (35 percent) of businesses that report an expected increase
in healthcare costs say it is likely their employees would consider dropping
their health care coverage because of this increase in out-of-pocket costs.
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