Sunday, December 22, 2013

Employees will pay more for their Health Care in 2014

If you're one of the 150 million Americans who get health insurance through your job, prepare to pay more. The new year will likely bring higher deductibles and copayments, penalties for not joining wellness programs and smaller employer contributions toward family coverage. 
While some workers and employers blame the Affordable Care Act for those changes, benefit experts say the law is mainly accelerating trends that predate it. 
"Employers are experimenting" with ways to control costs, said Paul Fronstin, at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a non-partisan think tank in Washington.
The bottom line is you will have to dig deeper into your own pocket. 
After two years of slower-than-usual growth in health spending, employers are bracing for a spike in 2014. That's partly because they expect more workers to enroll due to the law, which requires most Americans to carry coverage or pay a fine. 
Analysts say the health law is fueling some of the changes, among them, the increased emphasis on wellness programs, because the law allows employers to offer larger incentives — or penalties — for participation in wellness programs, up from 20% of the cost of coverage to 30%.
In addition, employers can now compare their own offerings with the policies sold through the health law's websites, some of which come with higher deductibles and cost-sharing. 
Many people enrolled in HMO or PPO plans through their employers, for example, have plans that cover at least 80% of expected medical costs as calculated for a group of typical policyholders. 
But the bronze plans — the lowest level of coverage among the four tiers of plans sold through the health law marketplaces — cover about 60% of expected costs, with the consumer paying the rest, while silver plans cover 70%.
Some employers are already asking their insurers to create similar policies for their workers, said Dan Mendelson of Avalere Health, a Washington, D.C., health care consulting firm. 
"The employee is being asked to spend more and more," said Mendelson. "Absolutely, it's becoming more acceptable."
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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