Employees are soon going to face tough ‘treatment’ in terms of medical costs as their companies are now pushing a larger share of the bills onto them.

By how much? Well, it looks like 2013 annual employee premiums are going to increase to a whopping 8 percent. Plus, a double-digit percentage hike in out-of-pocket costs is in the cards as well.

Tough economic times are to be blamed for this situation. The 8 percent raise amounts to almost $2,385 from $2,204 this year in what workers have taken out of their paychecks for healthcare, according to a new study by Aon Hewitt, a large Chicago benefits consultancy.

This amount is about 21 percent of next year’s total-company paid premium of $11,188, which is rising slower at about 6 percent from $10,522 than the rate of increase employees will see. Meanwhile out-of-pocket costs, which include worker’s share of the co-payments and deductibles, are projected to increase 10 percent to $2,429 in 2013, from $2,200 this year. A single worker with no dependents or spouse might pay less while an employee with several dependents is likely to pay more.

“Employers are shifting costs. We are seeing that in a slow moving economy,” said Jim Winkler of Aon Hewitt. This revelation comes at the peak of so-called open enrollment season, which generally runs through mid-November, when companies disclose to workers their benefit options for the following year.

Analysts attribute healthcare cost increases to strategies by employers to pass along more of the total premium to workers through high deductible medical insurance usually tied to a health savings account that allows enrollees to set aside money through a tax-deferred arrangement.

It looks like staying healthy is a better deal in the long run.

Source:  Bruce Japsen | Worker Health Premiums Will Jump Next Year As Employers Shift Cost Burden | March 2013 | Forbes.com

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