NJ employers predict another spike in health care costs for 2017
You're not the only one paying more for health care.
Many times, those higher premiums and/or deductibles you face are making up for increased costs that your employer encounters as well.
And a new survey suggests employers in New Jersey are facing a greater burden than employers elsewhere.
According to human resources consulting firm Mercer, the health benefit cost per employee rose 5.4 percent in 2016 for Garden State employers, compared to a rise of just 2.4 percent nationally. On average, $13,632 was spent per employee in New Jersey, and $11,920 nationally.
"It's part of the cost of doing business in the state - that the cost of health care is higher," said Mercer's Rich Fuerstenberg in Princeton.
The national survey examined benefits of 2,544 employers nationwide, including 61 in New Jersey.
"A dollar that an employer pays in health care costs is a dollar they're not paying in compensation or other benefits to their employees," Fuerstenberg added.
And according to the survey, growth in health care costs are not slowing down as employees begin making their insurance decisions for 2017.
In New Jersey, employers are forecasting another jump of 5.6 percent after making changes to hold down costs, such as switching carriers or adding a consumer-driven health plan. Nationally, a 4.1 percent spike is predicted.
Nov. 1 marks the beginning of the open enrollment period for 2017 coverage.
In New Jersey this year, more than half of employers offered a high-deductible consumer-directed health plan with an account feature. Essentially, employees put out less each paycheck but pay more when accessing care.
The survey noted prescription drug costs are an "especially thorny problem" for both employers and plan members. And to help reduce health care costs in the long run, many employers are using new tactics, such as offering a health advocacy service and encouraging employees to track their physical activity.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.