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Thursday, March 5th, 2015


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Employers Expect to Tweak Health Plans

Some employers are providing incentives so workers stay healthy.The cost of providing health insurance is on the rise, due in no small part to the healthcare reform bill passed earlier this year. And, in response, companies of all sizes plan to tweak their coverage offerings.

Benefits consultancy Mercer reports November 22 that companies are paying 6.9 percent more this year than last to provide insurance to their employees. Next year, the cost increase should be even steeper – about 10 percent.

To keep coverage costs from spiraling out of control, firms are resorting to a number of containment measures. Pricey health maintenance organization (HMO) plans are falling out of favor, while lower-cost consumer-directed health plans – which pair high-deductible coverage with a savings account – are becoming more widely used. A year ago, 9 percent of companies offered CDHPs; now, 11 percent do.

And workers are being provided with incentives to live healthier. Three years ago, Mercer says, the incentives were small items like a hat or a water bottle – but now, they take the form of cash or premium reductions.

A benefit to the healthcare reform bill is that it requires companies to provide affordable insurance to their employees. But as it forces firms to change their coverage options, it could be smart to learn exactly what adjustments your employer has in store.

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