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Flat Premiums for Employment-Based Coverage

The Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research and Educational Trust reports on its study on employment based coverage in 2014. Premiums for individual coverage are essentially flat – a 2% increase and premiums for family coverage are up by 3%. The employee shares of premiums are unchanged – 18% for individual coverage and 29% for family coverage. Cost sharing (i.e. copays, co-insurance and deductibles) is unchanged. The percentages of employers offering (55%) and the percentage of employees taking up their employers offer were unchanged. Only 25% of employers offer retiree health benefits – a figure that is also unchanged.

There are some changes at the margins. Twenty three percent of large employers reduced their waiting periods for coverage of new workers and 10% of small employers reduced their waiting periods. Six percent of large employers made more of their workers eligible for coverage while 2% made fewer workers eligible; the rest made no changes.

For the coming year, employers may be looking to narrower and or tiered networks of higher performing providers, tiers for generic or preferred drugs, risk assessments and employee wellness programs, private Exchanges for their employees, and public Exchanges for their retirees. A few (less than 10%) will not cover spouses if they have an offer of coverage from their own employer.

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