Healthcare Costs Rise 5.7 Percent During 2009

Healthcare costs are rising at a faster pace than inflation or wages.  Healthcare insurance costs have increased at a rate of 5.7 percent this year,  both for employers and employees.  This follows increases of 5.7 percent in 2008 and 6.1 percent in 2007.  The study also found that 59 percent of companies raised their employees’ deductibles and co-pays to fund the increase.

Although the increase isn’t in the double digits as it was a few years ago, it still outpaces the rate of inflation or workers’ incomes.  “It’s not something to cheer about, especially since costs are getting passed on to employees,” said Blaine Bos, the survey’s author.  From 2003 to 2007, the average individual deductible grew from $250 to $400.  For families, the deductible rose from $1,000 to $1,500, according to the Mercer study.

According to the study, 47 percent of companies are encouraging employees to enroll in plans with lower premiums and higher deductibles.  Another 19 percent of employers are offering consumer-directed health plans.  These have high deductibles and let employees control spending accounts.  “They encourage employees to consider costs when by letting them save account money they don’t spend for future needs,” the study concluded.

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