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Obamacare jolts to employer-based insurance

Health Insurance » Obamacare » Obamacare Jolts To Employer-Based Insurance

More costs borne by employees
More costs borne by employees © YURALAITS ALBERT/Shutterstock.com

If you have health insurance through work, then you're likely familiar with changes in your plan from year to year, including minor increases in your copayments or deductibles.

"For many years, we've been seeing employers manage the high and growing costs of health insurance by increasing cost-sharing," says Deborah Chollet, a health insurance research leader at Mathematica Policy Research in Washington.

That trend is likely to continue because employers anticipate they'll face higher health care costs, particularly from Obamacare's "employer mandate," which takes effect next year and requires larger businesses to provide health insurance to workers averaging at least 30 hours per week.

A recent survey conducted by consulting firm Mercer found that 1 in 10 large employers will require bigger paycheck contributions for employee-only health coverage, and 18 percent will require employees to contribute more for family coverage.

Large employers are also making adjustments now to avoid the so-called Cadillac tax on higher-priced health plans, coming in 2018.

"You can't wait till the last minute -- if you want to avoid the tax -- to make changes to your plan," Fronstin says, adding that one way to avoid it is by increasing deductibles to bring down premiums.

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