Employees' Health Costs Up 134% in a Decade

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By Karla Bowsher

The average amount that employees contribute to their health care has increased by more 134 percent over the past 10 years -- and is projected to increase again next year.

That's according to Aon Hewitt, which analyzed data for more than 600 large U.S. employers representing 11.7 million participants, more than 1,200 health plans and nearly $59 billion in 2015 health care spending.

The firm found that in 2015 employees contributed a total of $4,698 for their share of the premium cost ($2,490) and their out-of-pocket costs such as co-payments and deductibles ($2,208). In 2005, their premium and out-of-pocket costs totaled $2,001.

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Next year, the average employee's share of the costs is projected to continue to increase to a total of $5,068 ($2,635 toward the premium and $2,433 in out-of-pocket costs).

The employer share of health care costs also has been increasing, and that rise also is projected to continue next year.

The increase in costs was actually relatively modest in 2015. The 3.2 percent rise was the lowest increase since Aon began tracking the data in 1996.

Mike Morrow, senior vice president of Aon Health, attributes the slower growth in costs to a couple of factors:

"The sluggish growth in the economy has deterred many individuals from using medical services, and there's also been modest price inflation -- both factors have been primary drivers for the low rates of premium increases over the past few years."

However, he adds that premium rates are expected to climb in the future partly due to prescription drug costs continuing to grow at a double-digit pace and to the economy picking up steam.

According to data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau, employer-based plans are the most common type of health insurance. They comprise 55.4 percent of plans -- more than twice as much as any other type of insurance.

To learn more about health insurance costs, check out:

"Obamacare Open Enrollment Is Coming: 5 Things You Need to Know"
"Ask Stacy: Can Obamacare Help Me Retire Early?"
"5 Health Care Myths Debunked"
"10 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Health Insurance"

Do you obtain your health insurance through your employer? If so, have your costs increased? Let us know in our Forums. It's the place where you can speak your mind, explore topics in-depth, and post questions and get answers.
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