NU Online News Service, Jan. 30, 12:48 p.m. – Nineteen percent of the small employers that offer health insurance changed their health benefits in 2002, according to a new survey co-sponsored by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington.
Twenty-six percent of the small employers increased the scope of their health coverage.
But 65% increased workers’ co-payments or deductibles, 35% switched carriers, 30% raised the employees’ share of the premiums and 29% cut back on the package of benefits offered.
Some employers told researchers that they have coped with rising health coverage costs by reducing or eliminating pay raises or bonuses, reducing other employee benefits, or delaying investments.
But the news is not all bad for the agents selling the health coverage, says EBRI’s Paul Fronstin, who wrote a survey report that appears in the January EBRI Issue Brief.
“If you’re an agent, it may be easier to make the sale because the employer has more options than previously thought,” Fronstin says.