Workers bear brunt of health insurance hikes

Workers bear brunt of health insurance hikes
Workers bear brunt of health insurance hikes

If your health care cost has gone up this year, you aren't alone. A new study says companies are asking their workers to pay a bigger share of company health insurance.

An annual study of company health insurance plan conducted by Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Education Trust is reporting today that while companies' health insurance costs rose 3%, workers are paying 14% more this year toward family health insurance -- an average $482 increase.

"For the first time, employers are coping with the rising health care costs by shifting it to workers," said Drew Altman, president-CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation. "It's adding economic pressure and burdens in a tough economy."

Gary Claxton, the study's lead author, speculated the economy played a role in how employers acted. Trying to avoid layoffs, employers looked at health care costs.

"We are in tough economic times," he said. "They structured their benefit packages not to pay really big premium increases."

Altman warned that increasing costs will affect employees' decisions on whether to go ahead with doctors visits and care.

"At some point this, could be a real barrier to access," he said, warning that there may have to be a further national discussion about the comprehensiveness of health care.