Copyright 2010 Landmark Communications, Inc.All Rights Reserved The Virginian-Pilot(Norfolk, VA.)
June 15, 2010 Tuesday The Virginian-Pilot Edition
SECTION: FRONT; Pg. A5
LENGTH: 304 words
HEADLINE: Report: Employers, workers to FACE RISing medical costs next year
BYLINE: TOM MURPHY
By Tom Murphy
The Associated Press
Companies that offer employee health insurance expect another steep jump in medical costs next year, and more will ask workers to share a bigger chunk of the expense, according to a new PricewaterhouseCoopers report.
For the first time, most of the American work force is expected to have health insurance deductibles of $400 or more, the firm said in a report released to The Associated Press.
Deductibles are the annual amount a patient pays out-of-pocket for care before insurance coverage starts. They are generally separate from co-payments and coinsurance.
Two years ago, only 25 percent of companies participating in the annual survey said they asked employees to pay deductibles of $400 or more. That grew to 43 percent in 2010 and is expected to pass 50 percent next year.
The new health care overhaul will have little impact on costs next year, said Michael Thompson, a principal with PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“In general, it’s a continuation of a fairly high rate of medical inflation,” he said.
The firm found that medical costs are expected to rise 9 percent next year. That doesn’t mean workers will see their monthly premiums jump by the same amount.
Employers often try to soften the impact by absorbing some of it, changing insurance plans or asking employees to pay higher deductibles or a larger coinsurance percentage.
A medical cost increase of more than 9 percent was forecast for 2009. But the average annual premium rose only 5 percent for family coverage that year and stayed flat for single coverage, according to a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation . costs on the rise
The 9 percent medical cost increase projected in 2011 is actually slightly lower than this year’s 9.5 percent jump . It’s due in part to expiring drug patents, which could lower drug costs.
LOAD-DATE: June 15, 2010