Employers remain committed to providing active employee health care benefits in the near future, according to findings from the annual Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health (NBGH) Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care.
According to a release, the 18th annual Towers Watson/NBGH survey, Reshaping Health Care: Best Performers Leading the Way, found that employers expect average total costs for active employees to reach $12,136 in 2013, up 5.1 percent from $11,457 in 2012 - the lowest cost increase in 15 years. Despite the relatively moderate, stable cost increases of the last few years, employees contribute 42 percent more for health care than they did five years ago, compared to a 32 percent increase for employers. The total employee cost share, including premiums and out-of-pocket costs, has climbed from 34 percent in 2011 to 37 percent in 2013.
In the coming years, more than 80 percent of respondents plan to continue to raise the share of premiums paid by employees, including rethinking their subsidy strategy for dependents. Subsidies for retiree medical coverage have declined, too, with only 15 percent of companies offering them to newly hired employees. However, with the opening of health care insurance exchanges in 2014, some employers may find alternatives for their retirees.
"Employers are redefining their financial commitment to health care, in part to avoid the potential payment of an excise tax in 2018. Yet they are also mindful of a growing affordability gap for employees as health care costs take their toll on take-home pay," said Ron Fontanetta, senior health care consultant for Towers Watson. "To combat these challenges, we expect employers to take more aggressive action, using emerging strategies to improve delivery, cost management and employee accountability."
The 18th annual Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care tracks employers' strategies and practices, and the results of their efforts to provide and manage health benefits for their workforce.
Towers Watson is a global professional services company that helps organizations with performance through effective people, risk and financial management.
The National Business Group on Health is a nonprofit membership organization of large employers devoted exclusively to finding forward-thinking solutions to their most important health care and related benefit issues and to being the voice for large employers on national health care issues.
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