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He ain’t heavy, he’s my employer

By Jay MacDonald ·
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Posted: 10 am ET

They've cut your pay, slashed your hours and doubled your workload. What else can your boss possibly do to make your life more miserable?

How about cut your health insurance?

According to a new survey of U.S. Chief Financial Officers and senior comptrollers by Grant Thornton LLP, 30 percent of U.S. employers are looking to reduce health insurance benefits to bolster the old bottom line. Among those surveyed, 23 percent also want to take a whack at your bonus and 18 percent plan to reduce your stock options/equity-based compensation.

On the plus side, there's still free coffee in the break room.

It's hardly breaking news that employers now consider previously sacrosanct employee benefits on the table these days. As discussed in a recent blog, employers have lately taken to passing on health insurance cost increases to their employees rather than absorb them as in years past.

According to the latest Kaiser Family Foundation survey, employees now shoulder an average of 30 percent of the premium for family coverage, up 3 percent from last year, while those with single coverage pony up 19 percent of the premium, up 2 percent from last year.

In fact, Grant Thornton found that employee benefits, including health insurance and pensions, topped the list of economic pressures for 84 percent of the CFOs surveyed, up from 68 percent just six months ago and beating handily such runners-up as raw materials (27 percent), energy (21 percent), and the company’s own insurance (11 percent).

If there's a pinpoint of light in this latest data, it's that 21 percent of those surveyed plan to increase salaries, up from 15 percent just six months ago.

And the way that employee health insurance is headed, you're going to need it.

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Jay MacDonald
November 17, 2010 at 6:30 am

Thanks for sharing your recent experience, Kris. I suspect we'll see more of this policy parsing as companies, and colleges apparently, attempt to shift more of the health insurance costs onto employees. "Married enough" indeed!

November 16, 2010 at 6:57 pm

I work for Corinthian Colleges, and I've gotten several nasty-grams demanding that I prove my husband qualifies as a dependent. I've already given my employer a copy of our marriage certificate and my new social security card, but apparently we're not 'married enough' to qualify him as a dependent since we choose not to have joint checking accounts and credit cards. Way to make your employees feel appreciated.

November 16, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Rather than looking at the services, they need to be paying attention to the ever increasing costs! They need to pinpoint doctors and patients that abuse the system (I had a 100% covered checkup and immunization visit for my 15 month old daughter...during that visit the doctor said "she has very dry skin" and prescribed a lotion. He then proceeded to bill that visit as a diagnostic visit along with the preventive visit. He got paid twice for the same visit for something I did not really need him to tell me!) and how costs can be lowered and contained and capping the amount premiums can rise!