Employees Are Paying More – Much More – for Health Care
Life + Money

Employees Are Paying More – Much More – for Health Care


While wages have been stagnant over the past decade, the amount that workers pay for employer-sponsored health insurance has more than doubled.

Average employees at mid-size and large companies paid $2,490 toward their premiums and $2,208 in out-of-pocket costs (including copayments and deductibles) last year, for a total cost of about $4,700, according to a new report from Aon. The data in the report combines both individual and family plans.

In 2005, those employees’ total healthcare costs were just $2,001. That translates to a 134 percent increase in employee’s share of health care costs in 10 years.

Related: Workers Are Getting Slammed With Higher Health Care Costs

The rate of increase has declined in recent years. Last year the employee share of healthcare costs increased 3.2 percent, the lowest rate in 20 years. Aon projects that costs will increase 4.1 percent next year, which would mean workers would pay almost $4,900 for medical coverage and services.

 “As prescription drug costs continue to grow at a double-digit pace and the economy picks up speed, it’s likely these premium rates will start to climb,” Mike Morrow, senior vice president of Aon Health, said in a statement.

In addition to the rising price of treatment, the increased worker expense reflects a trend of employers shifting their costs onto their employees. The amount of total health care costs covered by employers has decreased 1 percent per year over the past three years. Nearly half of employers plan to increase participants’ out-of-pocket costs in the near future and another 38 percent have already done so.

This shift has led to the rise of high-deductible health plans, with 16 percent of companies offering these as the only option for employees, and another 41 percent planning to make it the only option in the next three to five years.