Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Employer health care costs to jump 9% in 2011

By Julianne Pepitone, staff reporter


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.

Also, several major brand-name drugs, including Lipitor, will lose their patents in 2011, opening them up to competition from cheaper generic versions. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,374.76 23.38 0.14%
Nasdaq 4,733.50 -16.48 -0.35%
S&P 500 1,951.13 2.27 0.12%
Treasuries 2.17 -0.02 -1.14%
Data as of 9:42pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 15.94 0.09 0.57%
Apple Inc 110.37 -1.97 -1.75%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 10.13 0.23 2.32%
Intel Corp 29.08 0.48 1.68%
Frontier Communicati... 5.52 0.31 5.95%
Data as of 4:01pm ET
Sponsors

Sections

Americans are transforming how they eat -- paying more attention to the origins of their food and how it's made. And Kimbal Musk is at the forefront of a movement that is accelerating the rate of change. More

The Labor Department releases its August jobs report on Friday, and it will have big implications for the Federal Reserve. More

The BauBax travel jacket, with 15 built-in features, needed $20,000 on Kickstarter, but got $9 million. More

Pimco's famous fund once managed by star manager Bill Gross has less than $100 billion in management for the first time since 2007. More