NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Companies that offer health plans will see their costs jump 9% in 2011, and most employees will pay higher deductibles as a result, said a report released Monday.
Employers will try to offset cost increases by requiring their workers to shell out more cash before coverage kicks in, according to a survey of 700 employers by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
By 2011, more than 50% of workers will have a deductible of $400 or more. In 2008, only 25% of companies said they had plans with deductibles that high.
In 2010, 13% of companies said their primary plans were those with high-deductibles -- generally considered to be $1,100 or more. That's more than double the level of 6% in 2008.
The report's authors said predicting 2011 costs was "especially challenging," since the past year has brought major changes not only to the health care industry but to the economy as a whole.
The overall 9% cost jump expected in 2011 is slightly smaller than the 9.5% increase that PWC had forecast for 2010, but "the small decrease hides a more complicated set of forces," the report said.
Inflators and deflators: The combination of the recession's impact and sweeping health reform is a mixed bag for employers' bottom line, the report said.
One major issue for companies: Cash-strapped hospitals and health providers will likely push more costs to employers. Hospitals are facing Medicare rate cuts, while more health providers are merging -- which means they'll be able to negotiate higher rates.
On the other hand, some changes are driving employers' health expenses down.
For example, the cost of providing COBRA coverage -- which lets some workers who quit, are laid off or otherwise leave their jobs to extend their health plans -- should return to "more normal levels" in 2011, saving employers money.
Walmart has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle a suit that alleged the chain discriminated against gay employees. More
Increased health coverage through Obamacare and greater use of health care services accounted for the nearly 6% rise of national health spending in 2015, which approached $10,000 per person. More
Facebook admits it messed up more ad metrics than previously thought, potentially eroding its trust and relationship with marketers and publishers. More
In 1998, Ntsiki Biyela won a scholarship to study wine making. Now she's about to launch her own brand. More
Credit card issuers are competing intensely for your business, and they're willing to pay for it. More