In response to rising costs, companies are shifting health care burdens onto their employees, USA Today reports:
More than half of companies (56%) increased employees’ share of health care premiums or co-payments for doctors’ visits in 2013, and 59% of employers say they intend to do the same in 2014, according to the annual Aflac WorkForces Report. It’s based on a survey of 1,856 employers and 5,209 employees at small, medium and large-size companies […]The need to control costs is driving many companies’ decisions on benefits […]The report notes that the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that health care premiums have increased 80% since 2003, nearly three times as fast as wages (31%) and inflation (27%).
For the majority of Americans who still get their insurance through their employers, Obamacare won’t deliver much relief. The whole debate over Obamacare, and the law itself, passes completely over this central point.On the one hand, this financial pressure could advance an important interest. Higher co-pays could reduce the amount of health care Americans consume, which would be a good thing on balance. On the other hand, there will definitely be a point of diminishing returns, and plenty of people who don’t use much care will be hit by higher premiums. Unless parallel measures are taken to reduce overall costs as well as make individuals bear more of them, even workers who become more disciplined in their health care spending will be crushed.