Lots of reports out these days on employer health benefit trends for the 2015 year. The latest is a survey by ADP of 200 large employers; those with over 1000 employees. The survey tracks developments over the last five years, when the reform law was coming into effect. (ADP Report) The survey found that in this group of large companies, 93% of full-time employees are eligible for health benefits and 75% of these eligible employees selected coverage. Participation rates are lowest for employees under the age of 26, where 83% are eligible but only 44% take coverage and this percent has declined in recent years, likely due to the ability of the group to stay on parents’ policies til age 26. The group that elects health coverage has gotten older, is more likely to be single and has fewer dependents than it did a few years ago. Premiums have grown modestly, about 2.4% a year, and now average $486 per month for single employees and $1216 for a family. Employers have continued to pay about 75% of that premium. The percent of income devoted to employee share of the premium hits hardest at the lowest paid workers, with these people paying four times more as a percent of income than do high income employees, and this low-income group experienced much faster growth in the percent of income devoted to health premiums. However, the number of firms using a high-deductible plan rose rapidly, to 35%. More evidence that while overall health benefits costs may be subdued, particularly for low and middle-income workers, more is coming out-of-pocket. Come on employers, show a little innovation and start to income-adjust premium sharing. Make those who can afford it pay more and give the lower-income people a break.
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About this Blog
The Healthy Skeptic is a website about the health care system, and is written by Kevin Roche, who has many years of experience working in the health industry. Mr. Roche is available to assist health care companies through consulting arrangements through Roche Consulting, LLC and may be reached at [email protected].
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