Survey Notes More Health Care Costs Will Shift to Employees

By Staff Report

Aug. 26, 2010

Nearly two-thirds of employers say they intend to make health care plan design changes to shift more costs to employees in 2011, according to a survey released Wednesday, August 27.

The Aon Consulting survey found that 65 percent of respondents plan to increase cost-sharing through actions such as boosting deductibles, co-payments, co-insurance or out-of-pocket limits.

In addition, 57 percent said they expect to boost health care plan premiums paid by employees.

Those changes come amid major increases in health care plan costs. Just over one-third of respondents said their group health care costs rose at least 5 percent but less than 10 percent this year, while 18 percent said costs climbed at least 10 percent but less than 15 percent. Twenty-four percent, though, said cost increases were less than 5 percent, while 5 percent said cost increases were at least 15 percent but less than 20 percent.

The survey also details how expensive COBRA health care continuation coverage has become. For example, this year the median monthly COBRA premium charged for single coverage in a preferred provider organization plan was $449, while the median monthly premium for family coverage was $1,310.

Through legislation passed in 2009 and later extended and expanded, the federal government pays 65 percent of the COBRA premium for employees who are involuntarily terminated. But that subsidy is available only to employees laid off through May 31.

A total of 1,079 individuals participated in the survey, including 44 percent at employers with 500 to 5,000 employees, 38 percent at employers with fewer than 500 employees and 18 percent at employers with more than 5,000 employees.

A summary of the “2010 Benefits Survey” and information on how to obtain the full survey is available at 

Filed by Jerry Geisel of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail


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