The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation has found that workers are paying much higher deductibles before insurance benefits kick in despite the fact that health insurance rate increases are the lowest since 1999.
From USA Today:
The survey of 1,927 employers found that 18% of insured employees pay at least $1,000 before their coverage starts — up from 12% in 2007. Among companies with fewer than 200 employees, 35% offer coverage with deductibles of at least $1,000, up from 21% last year. Most covered workers are allowed some preventive care outside the deductible.
You can find the survey with supplementary information here.
This doesn’t surprise me. After years of double digit increases, employers have been hard pressed to maintain benefits at a static level.
I remember when I was working at a non-profit, how difficult it was to keep making higher and higher payments to the insurance companies (and brokers) while maintaining low deductibles and copays. We had to come up with very creative ways to maintain the level of benefits for the year and couldn’t even begin to think about the next year.
I think that this survey really reflects the years of employers (read: HR) managing employee expectations along with the benefits themselves. Something eventually had to give. Unfortunately for all of us, it comes at a really, really bad time.
Stop the train. I want to get off.