KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Employers Predict Health Costs To Rise Nearly 6 Percent Next Year

The Wall Street Journal reports that a survey from Mercer finds employers are expecting their health costs to rise an average of 5.9% next year after shifting some cost-sharing for health plans to employees. "If they made no money-saving changes, per-employee costs would rise by an average of 10.1%, including an average 2.3% bump from complying with certain provisions of health-care overhaul, according to the survey of 1,091 employers. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey released last week found employees paid about 14% more for family coverage this year. Mercer's survey looks ahead to next year and finds 57% of employers will ask workers to pay at least a somewhat greater share of the cost of coverage." In addition, 27% of employers say they'll seek bids from insurers to lower the cost of their plans (Hobson, 9/8).

Modern Healthcare: "To keep costs down, some employers will have to make benefit changes that will disqualify them from an exemption in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Under the law, health plans have 'grandfathered' status if they don't make certain benefit changes, such as raising members' co-insurance. Grandfathered status means that plans are exempt from certain coverage mandates, including one that bars member copayments for preventive care." Only a little more than half of the employers surveyed by Mercer said they expect their plans to keep grandfathered status next year (Vesely, 9/8).

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