In 2012, U.S. companies and their employees saw the lowest healthcare premium rate increases in 6 years, according to an analysis by Aon Hewitt. The average healthcare premium rate increase for large employers in 2012 was 4.9 percent, down from 8.5 percent in 2011 and 6.2 percent in 2010. In 2013, however, average healthcare premium increases are projected to jump up to 6.3 percent.
According to a press release, Aon Hewitt's analysis showed the average healthcare cost per employee was $10,522 in 2012, up from $10,034 in 2011. The portion of the total healthcare premium that employees were asked to contribute toward this premium cost was $2,204 in 2012, compared to $2,090 in 2011. Meanwhile, average employee out-of-pocket costs, such as copayments, coinsurance, and deductibles, were $2,200 in 2012, compared to $2,072 in 2011.
For 2013, average healthcare costs per employee are projected to jump to $11,188. Consistent with the previous 2 years, employees will be asked to contribute 21 percent of the total health care premium, which equates to $2,385 for 2013. Average employee out-of-pocket costs are expected to increase to $2,429.
These projections mean that over the last 5 years, employees' share of healthcare costs, including employee contributions and out-of-pocket costs, will have increased more than 50 percent from $3,199 in 2008 to $4,814 in 2013.
"In 2010, employers found themselves in a challenging budgetary position, thus taking more aggressive actions with their benefit plans. An expected decline in employment levels and new costs resulting from health care reform had to be factored into expected costs, which led many employers and insurers to conservatively project their healthcare premiums for 2011," said Tim Nimmer, fellow to the Society of Actuaries, member of the American Academy of Actuaries, and chief healthcare actuary at Aon Hewitt.
"As actual results materialized, employers have seen some stabilization in employment levels, less severe impact of high cost claims, a general movement towards consumer-driven plans and greater clarity around the average cost impact associated with health care reform. As a result, 2012 premiums were offset to reflect the better than expected historical experience. For 2013, we expect premium increases to gravitate back to the 6 percent range."