Tags: business | healthcare | costs | rising

Study: Businesses See Healthcare Costs Rising 7 Percent Next Year

By Newsmax Wires   |   Monday, 06 Aug 2012 05:17 PM

Companies on average expect to pay 7 percent more for their employees’ healthcare next year than in 2012, according to a new survey of 82 of the country’s largest companies by the National Business Group on Health.

That would be more than four times the overall inflation rate of 1.7 percent registered for the year through June. The 7 percent increase matches what businesses forecast for this year, but is smaller than their increases of the previous three years.

As a result of the cost increases that they face themselves, 60 percent of the businesses expect to hike the percentage of premiums that employees must pay next year, although the majority of those businesses plan an increase of less than 5 percent.

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A total of 40 percent of respondents intend to raise in-network deductibles for their employees, 33 percent expect to boost out-of-network deductibles, and 32 percent anticipate an increase in out-of-pocket maximums.

The survey was conducted in June before the Supreme Court upheld most of the healthcare reform law. So the planned increases may well have increased since then.

"Rising health care costs continue to plague employers at an alarming rate," Helen Darling, president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health, said in a statement accompanying the report. "Although cost increases have stabilized somewhat, they are still on a higher base from last year and are simply not sustainable, especially when our nation's economy and workers' wages are virtually flat and everybody is struggling."

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