Milwaukee Health Plan Costs Increase at Double the National Average

Average Premium Paid by Employer and Employee Equals $9,550 a Year

MacIver News Service | November 5, 2013

[Milwaukee, Wisc…] Milwaukee businesses and employees saw health plan costs jump 8 to 10 percent in 2013, which is double the national average, according to a new survey by HCTrends.

The annual Greater Milwaukee Employer Health Care Benefits Survey was released Tuesday by the Milwaukee-based health insurance research organization.

While the increase was greater than the national average, the total cost was still lower. The survey found that the average premium cost employers and employees $9,550 combined in 2013. The national average was $10,100 according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Dave Jensen, Editorial Director at HCTrends, suggests that small businesses might be hit the hardest by increasing health care costs.

“The survey results suggest that small and very small employers may be in a more tenuous financial situation than we thought given how many had double-digit increases in 2013,” Jensen told the MacIver News Service. “These same employers are just now learning what their 2014 renewal rates will be, which we expect will be even higher since the Affordable Care Act plan requirements will be fully implemented.”

The 11th annual survey found 30 percent of Milwaukee employers had health care premiums for individuals that were greater than $7,500 per year, while 45 percent of employers had premiums for families that were greater than $15,000 per year.

On the lower end of the spectrum, 20 percent of employers had premiums for individuals that were less than $4,000 per year and 24 percent of employers had premiums for families that were less than $12,000 per year.

In an effort to reduce costs, a majority of businesses surveyed said they would consider increasing the employee share of premiums or increase deductibles, co-pays, or co-insurance.

The survey also found that many businesses will likely cut hours or eliminate health care coverage because of the implementation of Obamacare. They found that 29 percent of businesses with less than 20 employees and 19 percent of businesses with 20 to 99 employees are considering dropping their health care plans.

Businesses with more than 500 employees showed that they are more likely to cut hours than terminate their health plans. Nearly 40 percent of these employers said that they may cut hours once the Affordable Care Act goes into full affect.

The full survey results are available here.