Navigation Links
Health Care Reform: Employees Face Greater Cost-Sharing
Date:9/10/2010

By Karen Pallarito
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Americans who have health insurance through large, employer-sponsored health plans will see a number of plan design changes in 2011, and they'll be paying more for that coverage, employers and benefits consultants say.

"You're going to see higher premiums and higher contributions from the individual members of the plan," said Ronald Bachman, president and CEO of Healthcare Visions, an Atlanta-based consulting firm.

"Health-care reform doesn't change the fact that costs are going up, and cost-shifting is going to continue to occur between the employer's portion of the cost and the individual's portion of costs," he said.

Employer-sponsored health plans cover 159 million people, or 52 percent, of all Americans, according to an analysis by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and the Urban Institute.

Employers project that health-care costs will rise 8.9 percent, on average, in 2011, according to a report released last month by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH). This year, the average increase was 7 percent.

Sixty-three percent of employers intend to increase employees' share of premium costs, compared with 57 percent who did so this year, the survey found, while 46 percent plan to raise out-of-pocket maximums, up from 36 percent this year.

More than six in 10 employers in 2011 will offer a consumer-directed health plan, a type of coverage that combines a high-deductible health plan with a health savings account, or HSA. (An HSA allows consumers to pay for medical expenses with tax-free dollars.) The number of employers that intend to offer this type of consumer-directed plan exclusively -- replacing other health-plan options -- doubled from 10 percent this year to 20 percent in 2011.

"We fully expect interest in CDHPs (consumer-directed health plans), and especially full-replacement plans, will continue to increase in the future," Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health, said in a news release.

The NBGH survey, based on responses from 72 of the nation's largest corporations, indicates that more than half of employers are moving ahead with changes to their benefit plans despite some uncertainty about how new regulations implementing health reform will affect existing health plans.

The rising cost of health benefits is partly due to the cost of implementing various health-reform requirements.

One in four employers says that complying with health reform will boost 2011 health-plan costs by 3 percent or more, according to Mercer L.L.C., an employee benefits consulting firm. About 40 percent of the 791 employers surveyed by Mercer believe health reform will have a more modest impact, raising plan costs by 2 percent or less.

Employee premiums, deductibles and co-payments or co-insurance can differ widely from one job-based plan to another. Even the array of covered benefits may differ from one employer to another.

"If you think of all the summary plan descriptions and the benefits booklets that describe what the employer coverage looks like, and if you put those on top of one another, they'd probably be taller than the Empire State Building," said Bill Rosenberg, director of the global human resource solutions group of PricewaterhouseCoopers in New York City.

Health reform will ensure that all health plans -- even existing employer-sponsored plans -- offer certain protections to their members. If your health plan has a lifetime dollar limit on essential benefits, for example, that will disappear. If your employer offers coverage of dependents, but only up to, say, age 19, it must extend eligibility to young adults under the age of 26.

Health plans that have been in place since the health reform law passed in March may be "grandfathered" -- or exempt -- from other requirements, such as covering recommended preventive services without cost-sharing.

While grandfathered health plans are allowed to make small tweaks in benefits and costs, they cannot change insurance carriers, slash coverage, hike co-payments or shrink the employer's share of the premium.

"Let's say the employer pays 70 percent of the cost of the plan and the employee pays 30 percent," Rosenberg explained. "The employer may reduce its share by up to 5 percent. But beyond that, they're not allowed."

However, survey results released last month suggest that employers don't want to be hemmed in by those limits. Ninety percent of U.S. companies expect to lose their grandfathered status by 2014 -- a majority in the next two years, according to the benefits consulting firm Hewitt Associates.

"Whether or not you're going to see a cost increase and the extent to which you will have a cost increase will depend on what your coverage was before health-care reform," added Chantel Sheaks, a principal with the benefits consulting firm Buck Consultants in Washington, D.C. While people in more generous health plans may experience less of an increase, "everyone will be paying for this," she said.

More information

The Kaiser Family Foundation has more on employer-sponsored health insurance.

To read the first part of the series click here.

To read the second part of the series click here.

SOURCES: Ronald Bachman, president and CEO, Healthcare Visions, Atlanta; Bill Rosenberg, director, global human resource solutions group, PricewaterhouseCoopers, New York City; Chantel Sheaks, J.D., principal, Buck Consultants, Washington, D.C.; National Business Group on Health, Aug. 18, 2010, news release and report; Mercer L.L.C., May 20, 2010, news release; Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and the Urban Institute; Hewitt Associates, Aug. 10, 2010, news release


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Carolinas HealthCare System Volunteers to Join Navy Rescue Mission in Haiti
2. SXC Health Solutions to Host Fiscal 2009 Fourth Quarter and Year End Results Conference Call
3. A New Website Series Improves Appearance and Health City by City
4. Diet-to-Go Welcomes 2 Key Philadelphia Fitness Centers as Partners-in-Health
5. Quantum Health Appoints Stark as Executive Vice President of Sales
6. New Report: The Internet Has More Influence Over Consumer Health Actions than Traditional DTC Channels
7. Satellite Healthcares Sheila Doss Elected Western Chapters Coordinator-Elect of the American Nephrology Nurses Association
8. Changing the Course of Kids Health
9. Mental Health America Encourages Journalists, Media Professionals to Submit Entries for 2010 Media Awards
10. Idaho House Moves State Closer to Health Care Disaster
11. UNT Health Science Centers Roby Helps Identify Bodies of Chiles Patio 29
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Health Care Reform: Employees Face Greater Cost-Sharing
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking ... American College of Mohs Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical ... effective treatment for skin cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a ... Magna Cum Laude and his M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at ... returned to Los Angeles to complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... plastic surgery procedures that most people are unfamiliar with. The article goes on to ... known procedures, but also many of these less common operations such as calf and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... Scientific Sessions in Dallas that it will receive two significant new grants to ... came as PHA marked its 25th anniversary by recognizing patients, medical professionals and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Rhinebeck, NY (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Topical BioMedics, Inc, makers of ... of companies that call for a minimum wage raise to $12 an hour by 2020 ... wage. This will restore the lost value of the minimum wage, assure the wage floor ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Mass. and SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. , ... California -based mobile pulmonary function testing company, is now able ... PFT devices developed by ndd Medical Technologies , Inc. ... testing done in hospital-based labs.  Thanks to ndd,s EasyOne PRO ® ... , can get any needed testing done in the comfort ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Arkis BioSciences, a ... invasive and more durable cerebrospinal fluid treatments, today ... The Series-A funding is led by Innova Memphis, ... and other private investors.  Arkis, new financing will ... and the market release of its in-licensed Endexo® ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... startling report released today, National Safety Council research shows ... plan to eliminate prescription opioid overdoses. Prescription Nation ... the worst drug crisis in recorded U.S. history, assigned a "Making ... , New Mexico , Tennessee ... states, three – Michigan , Missouri ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: