Health Care Costs to Top $10,000 Per Worker for First Time in 2012

Per-employee expense for businesses rising; individuals projected to spend more as well

Although health care costs are projected to rise at a slower rate in 2012 than they did in 2011, according to Aon Hewitt, the per-employee expense to companies will pass $10,000 for the first time in 2012. Employee expenses are on the rise as well.

According to its analysis released Monday, Aon Hewitt said the average increase in health care premiums was expected to be 7% in 2012, a bit lower than 2011's 7.5% and just a shade higher than 2009's 6.9%. However, the average total premium for employees in large companies is projected to be $10,475 in 2012, up from $9,792 in 2011 and $9,111 in 2010.

Employees are expected to have to kick in $2,306, or 22% percent of the total, compared with $2,084 in 2011 (21.3%) and $1,952 in 2010 (21.4%). Added to expected out-of-pocket expenses projected to reach an average of $2,275, that means employees will be paying a total of $4,581 in 2012.

The escalation in costs can be chalked up to an older work force in poorer health, with more claims and more catastrophic claims being filed. The type of plan also has a substantial bearing on the amount of the increase, with health maintenance organizations (HMOs) seeing larger increases (7.8%) than preferred provider organizations (PPOs) at 6.6% or point of service (POSs) at 6.6%. That makes HMOs the most expensive plans of the three types of coverage.

The effect of rising premiums on the three types of plans over the past several years, along with the national average cost, is shown in the table below:

























































Several cities in the U.S. also experienced higher increases than the national average in 2011. They were Orlando (11.1%), New York City (9.5%), Orange County (9.1%), Houston (8.9%), Boston (8.6%) and Los Angeles (8.5%). Cities experiencing a lower-than-average increase were Detroit (5.8%), Atlanta (6.6%), Minneapolis/St. Paul (7.2%) and San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose (7.2%).

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