Employees Face ‘Rude Awakening’ as Employers Pass on Larger Share of Health Insurance Costs, Panel Says
Increased health care costs and the recent economic downturn will likely force employers to pass more of the cost of health insurance premiums to employees and reduce their take-home pay in the next few years, a panel of health care experts said Wednesday, the Ventura County Star reports. At a presentation in Los Angeles sponsored by Town Hall Los Angeles, a not-for-profit speaker forum, Helen Darling, president of the Washington Business Group on Health, said that employees, "oblivious to the rising costs of health insurance" in the tight labor market of the 1990s, will face a "rude awakening" as employers pass on a larger share of health insurance costs, the Star reports. Darling added that "there is no end in sight," with health insurance costs expected to increase an additional 14% in 2003. "Frankly ... most Americans are not ready for that, so it's not going to be a really pretty picture for a while," Darling said. The presentation also featured Woodrow Myers, manager of the Healthcare Quality Assurance Division at WellPoint Health Networks, and Patricia Parkerton, assistant professor of health services at the University of California-Los Angeles School of Public Health. Myers spoke about the future of health coverage and predicted that insurers will eliminate coverage for services that "do not increase life expectancy" or "improve one's health." Parkerton discussed the impact that increased health care costs could have on low-income consumers, who "will be more sensitive to what things cost" and may avoid care as a result (Sullivan, Ventura County Star, 11/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.