Employees in Central Pennsylvania are bearing a greater share of the cost of health insurance than they used to, according to a study released today by Conrad Siegel Actuaries.
The Susquehanna Township-based company does the medical and prescription drug benefits survey annually. More than 125 companies of all sizes responded to this year’s survey, with 60 percent coming from organizations having more than 100 employees. Companies that responded to the survey were from many different industry types, with the most common being education, health care, social assistance, manufacturing and government.
Of the companies that responded, 88 percent require employees to share in the cost of health insurance premiums, up from 77 percent in 2009. The average percentage of the premium cost paid by employees for single coverage is 15 percent, while family coverage is an average of 25 percent, slightly lower than national averages.
Plan deductibles of $500 or more are now at 52 percent, up from 41 percent in 2009. Plan deductibles in excess of $1,000 are at 36 percent, up from 6 percent in 2006; the national averages in 2006 and today are 10 and 34, respectively.
“As healthcare reform begins to affect group health plans, many employers are faced with the challenge of preparing their plans for several new regulations, while still dealing with the ever-present challenge of trying to contain the growth of healthcare costs,” Rob Glus, partner at Conrad Siegel, said in a news release. “Companies continue to look for ways to do this by adding and increasing plan deductibles, passing on more of the premium cost to employees and their families, tightening eligibility provisions, and greater emphasis on health and wellness.”
In line with national surveys, the most common type of plan offered locally continues to be the preferred provider organization. Over the last few years, POS, HMO and traditional plans have become less common in the marketplace, the survey said. As these plans have gotten less popular, many employers have started offering qualified high deductible health plans as a way to reduce the cost of coverage, but the 11 percent of employers offering them here is below the national average of 26 percent.
Only 21 percent of plans were grandfathered, compared with 32 percent of plans last year, the survey said. Approximately 20 percent do not cover spouses who have coverage available through their own employers.
Approximately 40 percent self-fund their medical benefits -- up from 26 percent in 2009 -- and 45 percent self-fund their prescription coverage. Self-insurance is expected to become more prevalent as the impact of health care reform, and specifically the health insurer tax, is fully implemented, the survey said.