Health-Care Costs to Rise in 2009

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Wall Street Journal

American workers with job-based health insurance can expect to spend 8.9% more for their health care in 2009, according to a study.

The cost to businesses of providing health-care benefits will rise by 6.4% on average in 2009, Hewitt Associates Inc. predicts, bringing the average annual premium cost per employee to $8,863, up from $8,331 now. While the growth rate in health-care costs is holding steady at about 6% to 7% a year, employers are passing on a larger slice of the increases to employees.

Hewitt predicts employees on average will contribute $1,946, or 22%, toward health-insurance premiums in 2009, compared with $1,806, or 21.6%, now. In addition, employees will likely face steeper out-of-pocket costs — through higher copays, annual deductibles and co-insurance — of $1,880 next year, compared with $1,707 now. Overall, employees can expect to pay $3,826, or 8.9% more, in 2009 for health care than in 2008, the study says.

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