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Insurance Picks At Work Will Cost You More

Filed by KOSU News in Health.
September 25, 2012

If you get health insurance at work, it’s just about time to pick your plan again. The good news for this open enrollment season is that premiums aren’t expected to increase quite as much for 2013 as they did this year.

The increase looks to be about 5.3 percent instead of an average 5.9 percent rise for 2012, according to Towers Watson’s annual health care survey of mid- to large-size employers.

A typical employee will pay $2,596 of the $11,507 total annual cost.

The bad news: Employers will ask workers to shoulder more of the burden — again.

More employees are being offered so-called consumer-driven health plans. Those plans typically have a deductible of $1,000 or more and are linked to a financial account that employees can use to pay for medical expenses.

An Aon Hewitt survey released earlier this month found that for the first time, consmer-driven health plans surpassed health maintenance organizations as the second-most common type of plan offered by employers.

Preferred-provider organizations remain the number one plan type, offered by 79 percent of employers in 2011, the survey found, followed by CDHPs, offered by 58 percent of companies. HMOs came in third, offered by 38 percent of employers.

Employers use a variety of strategies to try to coax employees to choose the CDHP, including picking up a bigger share of the premium, covering preventive medications before the deductible and making a financial contribution to the health savings accounts or health reimbursement arrangements that link to the plans, the survey found.

Although the premium may be lower in a CDHP, employees’ out-of-pocket costs may actually be higher, especially if they have a chronic condition that requires regular medical care, says Michael Thompson, a principal at human resources consultant PwC.

Check the plan’s out-of-pocket maximum, says Thompson. That’s the total amount you could be on the hook for financially. “If you can’t handle the out-of-pocket maximum, that plan’s not for you,” he says.

For more details about what to expect during open enrollment this season, check out the Kaiser Health News story. [Copyright 2012 Kaiser Health News]

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