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Families Spend A Month's Salary On Health Care, Aon Finds

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The amount families spend on employer-sponsored health care per year is edging closer to one month’s salary, according to a survey conducted by Aon Consulting, Chicago.

Aon cites the U.S. Census Bureau statistic that finds that median households in the U.S. earn approximately $48,000 annually.

The survey, ’2008 Benefits and Talent Sruvey,’ revealed that the median annual contribution for family healthcare coverage is $3,120, which is a 15 % increase from 2007 and 22% increase from 2006. Meanwhile, organizations have experienced approximately 10% annual healthcare cost increases since 2006.

Employers are beginning to move beyond this traditional cost shifting to cost control by focusing on improving the health and productivity of their employees. The survey of more than 1,100 U.S.-based organizations found that 64 percent of employers now have a benefits strategy that promotes the importance of health and productivity to their employees.

According to the survey, the amount of employers implementing specific wellness programs has increased three-fold from 2007 to 2008. For example, about 46 percent of employers are implementing smoking cessation programs this year, up from 14 percent of employers in 2007.

The survey also shows that employers have added incentives to motivate employees to participate in wellness programs, with 23 percent offering incentives to take health risk appraisals. Twenty percent of employers are providing incentives to employees who complete health risk programs such as tobacco cessation or weight management programs. The type of incentives varies, but about 22 percent of employers offer non-monetary awards such as gift cards and merchandise. Only 10 percent of organizations offer employees a premium contribution reduction.