Employers brace for 2010 healthcare cost hike

It’s estimated that U.S. employers will see a 9 percent jump in healthcare costs in 2010 and workers will be footing more of the bill, according to an annual trend report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The annual medical costs trends report also revealed that workers are more likely to utilize their health insurance coverage out of fear that they will loose their jobs. More uninsured and underinsured people are expected to turn to Medicaid for health coverage.

The rise in healthcare costs may be offset partially by cost declines associated with U.S. health care reforms and the potential for high deductible health plans and wellness programs, according to PwC.

Of the 500 employers surveyed by PwC: 

  • 42% plan to increase their workers’ share of healthcare costs in 2010, and
  • 41% said they would change the design of health care plans to increase medical cost sharing.

The study comes at a time when new health-reform legislation is heating up congressional hearings. President Obama has pledged to push his plans to revamp health-care regulation through Congress and Senate hearings this summer. Before anything is approved, it will be up to employers to manage rising costs.

"Employers are squeezing dollars out of their programs to save money," Mike Thompson, principal at PricewaterhouseCoopers global human resource solutions group, said in a statement.

"As the economy recovers, employers will refocus on more sustainable longer term approaches to medical cost containment based on an increasingly shared interest between employers and their workers." (Reuters)

What is your company doing to offset the rise in healthcare costs? Please leave a comment and let us know.


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