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Yearly Premiums for Family Health Coverage Rise to $12,680 in 2008, Up 5 Percent, As Many Workers Also Face Higher Deductibles
Date:9/24/2008

lf of all firms offering health benefits also provide at least one of seven wellness programs: weight loss programs, gym membership discounts or on-site exercise facilities, smoking cessation program, personal health coaching, classes in nutrition or healthy living, web-based resources for healthy living, or a wellness newsletter. However, relatively few firms offer incentives such as gift cards, travel, merchandise, or cash (7 percent), reduced premium (4 percent), or a lower deductible (1 percent) to encourage workers to participate in wellness programs.

In addition, 10 percent of firms offering health benefits give their employees the option of completing a health risk assessment to help employees identify potential health risks, and of those, 12 percent offer some sort of financial incentive for workers to complete them.

"Large firms have invested in wellness programs and believe they improve health (79 percent) and reduce cost (68 percent)," said co-author Jon Gabel, senior fellow at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

Other key findings from the survey include:

-- Drug benefits. Most plans now have a three- or four-tier system to

determine cost-sharing for drugs. For workers in such plans, the average

co-payments this year are $10 for first-tier drugs, $26 for second-tier

drugs, and $46 for third-tier drugs. Co-payments for fourth-tier drugs,

which may include costly biological agents and lifestyle drugs, averaged

$75.

-- Future outlook. When asked about their plans for next year, 14 percent

of firms say they are "very likely" to raise workers'

premium contribution next year, and 12 percent say they are "very

likely" to raise deductibles. Very few firms say they are

"very likely" to restrict eligibility for coverage or drop

health coverage altogether.

The full survey is available
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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Foundation
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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