Open Enrollment Brings Higher Premiums For 2011
As open enrollment for many employer-sponsored health plans approaches, workers are faced with higher premiums in 2011, yet again, MSNBC reports. "The increase is typical of what workers have seen in [the] last three years - around 10 percent. But what's different this year is some employers aren't just blaming the usual suspects for rising premiums - unhealthy workers, over-paid doctors and hospitals, and a bad economy. Now insurance experts and employers are also blaming health care reform. During this open enrollment season it's open season on the much maligned 'Affordable Care Act,' aka 'ObamaCare,' even though it won't be in full effect until 2014. Boeing, Verizon and Caterpillar are just a few of the companies that have pointed a finger, in part, at the law" (Tahmincioglu, 10/31).
Here's the Cincinnati Enquirer's look at changes in the local market: "Disappearing fast is the health maintenance organization (HMO), the symbol of 1990s-style managed care that provides the richest benefits package. The high-deductible plan, where workers put money into an account and pay for most routine medical expenses themselves, is quickly becoming the only option available. For companies, the high-deductible plans lower costs. For employees, they often represent a step into the unknown" (Peale, 11/1).
For federal employees, "[p]remiums will rise an average of 7.2 percent for employees' share," The Federal Times reports. "That isn't good news, but at least it's better than the expected 8.9 percent to 10.5 percent for large-employer health programs in the private sector. Still, that's small consolation for retirees, who didn't receive a cost-of-living increase this year and won't be getting one next year, either" (Jones, 10/31).