What your boss thinks of health care reform

By Jen Haley, producer


NEW YORK (CNN) -- President Obama today signed sweeping health care reform legislation into law. But how do employers view the changes? And how could that impact your wallet?

Employers have been supportive of this reform -- that's according to Hewitt Associates -- a human resources consulting firm that's been helping companies understand health care reform.

CDs & Money Market
MMA 0.40%
$10K MMA 0.36%
6 month CD 0.39%
1 yr CD 0.70%
5 yr CD 1.50%

Find personalized rates:
 

Rates provided by Bankrate.com.

"The status quo just isn't sustainable," says Ken Sperling of Hewitt Associates.

It's estimated in the next five years, health care costs will go up 50% if history is any guide. That means companies that provide health care insurance and employees would be paying more.

How much more? Nine years ago, you were paying 15% of the cost. Last year, you shouldered 22% of the cost. And by 2019, it's estimated that 33% of the cost would have come out of your pocket. That's about $7,300 per year for health care. Your employer could be paying almost $15,000 per employee according to Hewitt.

1. Your policy might change

Employers may put an added emphasis on health and wellness programs. While some companies already use incentives to encourage employees to join a gym or take part in a survey. Others are penalizing those who choose not to participate.

In fact, according to a recent Hewitt Associates survey, nearly one-half of employers say they either already use or plan to use financial penalties over the next three to five years for employees who do not participate in certain health improvement programs

So, if you're a smoker, you may get a smoking surcharge.

The way companies market their health care plans may also change. Your company may roll out an interactive Web site, a number of seminars may be held or you may get a call from someone explaining your benefits.

Consumer-driven health plans may become more prevalent in the future. These are high deductible plans you can use with a special savings account.

2. What you should know

Remember, there won't be too many changes in the short term. But make sure you keep up to date on any changes that may be coming next year.

Read all the material that comes your way about your health insurance. And make sure you keep an open line of communication with your HR representative, in case you have any questions.

Talkback: Do you go online to check out your health insurance information? (See comments) To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.07%4.07%
15 yr fixed3.13%3.09%
5/1 ARM3.22%3.08%
30 yr refi4.12%4.12%
15 yr refi3.19%3.16%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,575.00 218.13 1.26%
Nasdaq 4,708.03 63.72 1.37%
S&P 500 2,038.24 25.35 1.26%
Treasuries 2.21 0.06 3.03%
Data as of 11:46am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 17.38 0.11 0.67%
Apple Inc 111.07 1.66 1.52%
Oracle Corp 44.44 3.29 7.98%
General Electric Co 24.89 0.46 1.88%
Halliburton Co 39.00 -0.44 -1.12%
Data as of 11:31am ET

Sections

Hacking of Sony's movie studio is getting most of attention but problems and losses in consumer electronics a much bigger problem for the company. More

Reddit's Alexis Ohanian has been vocal about the need for high-skilled visa reform. At stake? The country's position as a tech leader. More

Congress waited until the last minute to decide what to do with a slew of expired tax breaks. They extended most of them, and a handful will affect individuals directly. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.