Health Costs Will Increase 15% for Large Employers in 2003, Survey Says
Large companies will pay on average 15% more to provide health plans for their employees in 2003 than they did this year, according to a survey by consulting firm Towers Perrin that found health costs are increasing "even faster than feared," the Wall Street Journal reports. The survey is based on responses from 268 large companies regarding the amount they agreed to pay for employee health plan premiums in 2003. Jim Foreman, managing director of Towers Perrin's global health practice, said businesses are unlikely to find quick solutions for the increasing costs. He added, "It's really a conundrum. Businesses can't charge their customers 15% more." The company said many large companies are likely to seek out "consumer-driven" health plans, which shift much of health plan cost increases to employees. Some companies also might consider employee health plans under which workers receive a lump sum to spend on health care. "Most of our clients have investigated it. We'll see most big organizations move forward next year," Foreman said. According to the survey, employees will be responsible for 22% of the cost for family coverage in 2003, compared with 21% in 2002. On average, large business employees will pay $160 per month for family coverage in 2003, compared with $134 per month in 2002. Employees purchasing individual health plans will pay 19% of their health costs in 2003, up from 17% in 2002, the survey says. Those employees will pay about $48 per month for coverage in 2003, compared with $38 in 2002 (Landers, Wall Street Journal, 10/2).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.