Higher Health Costs Ahead
The immediate impact of health-care reform is expected to lead to higher costs for employees, according to a new survey from the National Business Group on Health. Employers are expected to raise percentages on premiums, out-of-pocket maximums and other associated health expenses. Many companies are looking to increase the tab on prescription medicines, too. But they're also shifting to consumer-directed health plans to give employees greater control over costs. "Employers have to foot the bill, not the government," says Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health. "In fact, with cost increases expected to accelerate next year, many of the plan-design changes employers are making are being done to help curb those increases, as they have to do every year." Also, many employers are looking to increase incentives for their workers to quit smoking and undergo health check-ups. More than 70 corporations representing more than 3.7 million employees took part in the survey.