National Healthcare Costs Ease, but Cost-Sharing Continues

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In 2005, companies nationwide saw an average increase of 12.3% in their healthcare premiums, down from 14.7% in 2004. However, with several consecutive years of double-digit increases, cost-sharing practices have continued with 42.7% of employers increasing the employees' portion of the premium. Please see the press release below for complete details.

Seventy-six percent of companies nationwide encountered an increase in their employer-sponsored health insurance premiums over the last year. The average premium increase was 12.3%, down from 14.7% in 2004. In 2003, the average increase was 16% and the 2002 average reached 17%. This data was collected from more than 4,900 national employers in the annual Benefits USA pay and benefits survey.

"With several consecutive years of double-digit increases, employers and employees continue to feel the burden of increasing health insurance costs," says Amy Kaminski, manager of marketing programs for Compdata Surveys. "Employers have had to make some tough decisions regarding their benefit offerings."

While the average increase has fallen from 2004, cost-sharing practices continue with 42.7% of employers increasing the employees’ portion of the premium. One-third of organizations increased deductible levels, and one in five increased the employee co-insurance level.

The Central and East regions of the country have experienced the highest average increase (12.7%), while the South and West regions saw the lowest average increases of 11.7% and 11.8%, respectively.

Communication is key when making changes. Kaminski suggests encouraging employee involvement in evaluating benefit plans. Organizations need to offer programs that are viewed as meeting the needs of their workforce. "Companies should regularly inform and educate employees of changes to their healthcare plans," says Kaminski. "It’s important to be up-to-date on benefit trends in your area. This will help employees understand the reason behind any necessary alterations or cost increases to their benefits plan."

About the Survey

Benefits USA 2005/2006 data was collected from more than 5,000 benefits plans covering more than 5.5 million employees in the United States. The results provide a comprehensive summary of benefits information by industry, company size and regional profiles.

About Compdata Surveys

Compdata Surveys is the nation's leading compensation and benefits survey data provider. Annually, data is collected from thousands of organizations across 37 states. Compdata Surveys has been providing accurate, reliable data at affordable prices to organizations from coast to coast since 1988. For further information about the compensation and benefits surveys, contact Amy Kaminski at (800) 300-9570.

This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

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Amy Kaminski
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