I always celebrate the Hewitt Annual Health Care Cost Survey by going down to Circuit City to buy a new pocket protector. Seems like no one is around to help me these days, but if someone is available, they haven't worked there long. Go figure...
I jest, but the Hewitt Annual Health Care Cost Survey (I'm calling it the HAHCCS for short.. kinda like TPS reports) is always chock full of benchmarks that matter. How much healthcare costs, what companies are paying on average on behalf of their employees, how much the same level of coverage is expected to increase in the next year, etc. Good stuff, good times.
We'll get the party started with the data below from Hewitt, who's putting the annual trend (that's increases for you who don't talk to brokers) at 6% for 2008, and projected much of the same for 2009 at 6.4%. On the employee side, employee contributions (what employees pay out of their paycheck) increased from 2007 to 2008 by just under 10%, showing on average some cost shifting to employees.
It's a sick world when a 6% cost increase feels good, but all you have to do is look at the chart below, and see the period from 2001 to 2004 to understand why most of us will take 6%.
Couple of notes - all data below is from Hewitt, click here for the full summary. National cost per employee indicates what the total cost is for the company based on the average number of covered participants for each employee (including the employee themselves), which I would estimate nationally in the 2.1 to 2.2 range.
Total Plan Costs
National – Percentage Increase
National – Cost Per Employee
*Costs are plan costs (premium or budget rate) on a per employee basis. It includes employee contribution, but not their co-pays.
Average Employee Contribution for Coverage
According to Hewitt data, the average employee contribution in 2008 was $1,806, representing 22 percent of the overall health care premium and up from $1,645 in 2007. Employees’ contributions have more than doubled since 2002.
National Average Employee Cost
*This represents the employee contribution to the overall health plan premium and does not represent out-of-pocket costs (i.e. co-payments, co-insurance).
So, compare and contrast, my friends, and sleep tight knowing you are doing what you can to keep coverage affordable for your employees. Even if it means taking tough medicine like mandatory mail order, etc. Sometimes you have to roll like that, to keep the benefit levels for all, where they are...