U.S. Residents To Pay Greater Share of Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Coverage in 2009, Report Finds
U.S. residents enrolled in employer-sponsored health plans will contribute an average of 41% of their health care costs in 2009, the largest share to date, according to a study released on Monday by the Seattle-based actuarial consulting firm Milliman, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. The report looked at employer-sponsored preferred provider organizations plans in 14 metropolitan cities.
Researchers found that total medical costs for a typical family of four in 2009 are expected to reach $16,771, up by 7.4% from 2008. Employers are expected to pay $9,947 of that, and employees are expected to contribute $4,004 through health plan premiums and another $2,820 through out-of-pocket costs such as copayments and deductibles. In addition, the report found that consumption of medical services is expected to be flat this year for the first time ever. Kate Fitch, a consultant at Milliman, attributed the slowdown to better disease management and wellness programs. However, per unit medical costs are up, and hospital outpatient care had the highest growth in 2009 (Yee, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 5/18).
The report also found variations in medical costs by city. Miami had the highest health costs for a family of four at an average of $20,282 in 2008, almost 21% higher than the national average, followed by New York City at $19,684. Phoenix had the lowest at $14,857 (Dorschner, Miami Herald, 5/19).
The report is available online.