September 11, 2012

Mercer: 2013 employer health plan costs to rise 6.5%

U.S. employers expect to see the cost of their health plans rise by 6.5 percent in 2013, according to a new survey released Tuesday by health benefits consultancy Mercer.

The expected rate of increase is similar to the actual increase in 2011 of 6.1 percent, and slightly higher than the 5.7 percent increase predicted for 2012, the survey said.

Meanwhile, a majority of employers – 58 percent – are planning to shift cost to employees to keep the 2013 increase down. If employers didn't make changes to their plans, health care costs per employee would rise by an average of 8 percent, the survey found.

Despite cost increases, however, few employers believe they will terminate their plans after reform is fully implemented – just 6 percent of large employers (500 or more employees), and 16 percent of small employers (10-499 employees).

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