Employee Contributions to Sponsored Health Plans Reaches All-Time High

A new report shows the contributions employees make to their employer-sponsored health insurance plans have reached an all-time high. The report, released by actuarial consulting firm Milliman Inc., says that costs have more than doubled for some American families over the past nine years and show few signs of dropping this year.

Health-Care Costs Paid by Workers Jumps to 40 Percent

The Milliman report has revealed that while employers still pay most of the total health care costs for families, the portion paid by workers has reached an all-time high of almost 40 percent for the year.

The firm noted that larger contributions have been required to compensate for increases at the pharmacy, inpatient/outpatient hospital and doctor’s office that have affected health care costs as a whole.

The firm’s health care cost measurement, known as the Milliman Medical Index, studied provider fees, benefits and average health care use in all 50 states. Included in the costs are insurance premiums for health care and other out-of-pocket costs like co-payments, deductibles and co-insurance payments.

Health Costs for Employees Projected to Jump to $8,008

According to the report, employees who pay into Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) employer-sponsored health insurance plans for a family of four are expected to dish out a projected $8,008 this year. This represents an increase of $84 a week over the annual payment made in 2002, which was $3,634.

The health care costs for employer contributions have increased as well. When combining employee and employer costs for a family of four, the total for the year so far is $19,393 from $9,235 in 2020. This 2011 total represents a 7 percent increase from 2010.

While the rise in health care costs is slower in 2011 than other years, costs are still rising at a much faster rate than costs in other consumer areas. And it looks that the trend in cost increases is not expected to change soon.

Lorraine Mayne, consulting actuary for the firm and one of the report’s authors, told The Washington Post, “We don’t see anything on the near-term horizon that’s going to bend that downward.” She also noted that the health care overhaul has so far had no impact on rising health care costs for the year.