What You Can Expect in Health Care Benefits 5 Years, 6 Months ago
Watson Wyatt just released its projections on what U.S. workers can expect in terms of their employer-sponsored health care benefits as they receive their fall open enrollment benefits packages for 2010.
Here are a few highlights:
Higher out-of-pocket costs. More than four in 10 employers surveyed said they will raise deductibles, copayments and out-of-pocket maximums due to the economic crisis. Some might raise doctor visit copays by $5. Others might no longer provide 100 percent coverage for in-network services, opting instead to introduce some level of coinsurance to encourage employees to be more aware of the cost of services. Deductibles for individual and family coverage are expected to increase by $50 to $100 or more among some employers.
Closer eye on spousal and dependent coverage. Employers are increasingly revisiting spousal and dependent coverage in their efforts to control rising costs. Some employers are requiring spouses to complete health risk assessments, while others are charging higher premiums for working spouses who have access to other health care coverage.
Prescription drug benefits. Some workers will see changes to their prescription drug benefits. As part of an overall movement to Consumer-directed health plans, a number of employers are introducing a CDHP prescription drug benefit option that typically offers workers 100 percent coverage on a list of preventive medicines.
Greater use of incentives to stay healthy. Employers are continuing their push to improve the health of employees and their families. In addition to continuing the focus on wellness communication, employers are offering workers (and in some cases, spouses) more incentives like gift cards, cash and discounted premiums for undergoing a health risk assessment or participation in smoking cessation, weight management or fitness programs.
Consolidation of health plan offerings. Some employers plan to reduce the number of health plan options. As employers consolidate and change their health plan networks some employees might have to change physicians or pay higher out-of-network costs.