... Group health care premiums continue to outpace inflation, and while most employers are feeling the pressure of rising health care costs, benefits experts say smaller employers may face a heavier burden.
Large employers are projecting health care costs before implementing plan design changes to increase an average of 6% in 2016, according to a National Business Group on Health survey published earlier this month.
And according to an Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. survey of smaller employers, most of which have less than 1,000 employees, released Friday, 44% reported premium rate hikes of 6% or more in 2014. Twenty-three percent saw rates in the double digits, the survey showed.
Dave Ratcliffe, Washington-based principal in the health and productivity practice with Buck Consultants at Xerox, said employer health care cost trends before measures are taken to control costs are actually higher than most surveys show.
“We see trend rates closer to 9%… not at 6%-7%,” Mr. Ratcliffe said.
According to Joe Ellis, Philadelphia-based senior vice president with CBIZ Inc., employer health care cost increases are actually lower than they have been in the past, though he said they are still averaging 7%-8% before plan design changes. ...