As health care “reform” lumbers it way towards an uncertain fate in the halls of Congress, one reality remains certain for Americans who still have health insurance: They will pay more for coverage in 2010.
Employers, faced with rising costs for health plans, are increasing the share employees must pay and those with pay the full cost of insurance will find sticker shock as insurers send out their new rates.
Consumers will find themselves shelling out more not only for premiums but also face higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs.
As companies begin unveiling their workplace benefits for next year, many employees are learning they will have to dig even deeper into their pockets for health coverage.
Such price increases have become a fact of life during open-enrollment season, when workers sign up for their health plans. But the jump is expected to be steeper in 2010 than this year, as employers struggle with the impact of the recession and continually rising insurance costs. Employees will pay $4,023 on average in premiums and out-of-pocket charges next year, up 10% from 2009, according to a projection from Hewitt Associates, a benefits-consulting firm. In dollar terms, it’s the biggest boost since the firm started keeping track of the data a decade ago.
For workers, that will mean larger payroll deductions, as well as spending more on co-payments and other fees tied to care. Companies also are expected to prod more employees into cheaper coverage by getting them to sign up for high-deductible health plans. And many employers are trying to rein in the expense of covering workers’ families, sometimes by making insurance for kids and spouses pricier.