The ever-rising cost of corporate health care is expected to increase by 4.4 percent this year. Couple that with rising pressure from hard-fought efforts to maintain compliance with the federal government’s Affordable Care Act, and some employers have chosen to waive benefits, placing more responsibility onto their employees, who pay more both in premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
According to a survey released yesterday, workers are paying roughly $100 more per month in medical costs than they were three years ago, and can expect to pay 37 percent of the expenses acquired from company health plans this year. That’s an increase from the 34 percent in 2011.
A higher price tag isn’t the only change employees will have to deal with in the near future. The study suggests that employees also will be required to shoulder more of the costs for covering their spouses and dependents. Although today, roughly 70 percent of employers believe offering subsidized insurance for spouses is important, more than half believe it will not be important in 2015 and beyond.
Get fit for $50
Employers are looking to make proactive changes, too. Incentive health programs is a method many companies are implementing in order to improve the overall health of their workers, and therefore, decrease visits to the doctor’s office, clinic or hospital.
In increasing numbers, companies are offering an array of wellness activities to the workforce, such as boot camps and weight-loss competitions. Oftentimes, cash is the ultimate prize; on average, employees who complete all available programs could be $50 richer.
Retired and uninsured
Another serious issue facing employees – especially those considering retiring before age 65 – is the possibility that they may not have insurance coverage upon retirement. Public exchanges may become the sole option for pre-65 retirees as a reported 66 percent of companies are likely to eliminate access to coverage.
Where do we go from here?
According to the survey, only 25 percent of companies were confident they’d be providing current benefits to workers by 2024. Employers and employees need to start planning now for what’s to come. With rapid change taking place on a daily basis, “later” could mean “tomorrow,” so action planning should start today. For employees, perhaps that just means educating yourself on these trends and options, while for employers, it could mean a reconfiguration of your benefits strategy.