2011 Health Plan Costs Projected to Rise

Written by
October 29th, 2010

A recent survey by the National Business Group on Health reveals that large U.S. employers predict their health care benefits costs will rise an average of 8.9 percent in 2011 (up from 7 percent in 2010).

Top strategies employers plan to use to control costs include:

  • Raising employee contributions (63 percent)
  • Raising out-of-pocket maximums (46 percent)
  • Raising in-network deductibles (44 percent)
  • Raising out-of-network deductibles (40 percent)
  • Raising copay/coinsurance for specialist care (21 percent)
  • Raising copay/coinsurance for primary care (6 percent)

One of the most common cost-controlling tactics cited by employers was offering a consumer-directed health plan (CDHP). In 2011, 61 percent of employers plan to offer a CDHP, while 20 percent will offer it as their only plan option (up from 10 percent in 2010).

Other survey trends include:
In 2011, 5 percent of employers will drop retiree health benefits, while 60 percent are considering doing so. Many employers will offer premium discounts for completing health risk assessments (41 percent) or participating in tobacco cessation programs (22 percent).

A quarter of respondents will raise their copay/coinsurance for retail pharmacy prescription drugs, and 21 percent will do the same for mail order pharmacy benefits.

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