As open enrollment begins for employee health insurance, there is sure to be some sticker shock for employees and their employers, says Ball State health economist Kerry Anne McGeary.
She says that health insurance premiums will increase anywhere from 5 to 10.5 percent in the coming year.
"Several studies are reporting a sobering reality: The cost of providing health insurance is rising for the employer, too," says McGeary, Phyllis A. Miller professor of health economics at Ball State and a research associate for the National Bureau of Economic Research. "What we should keep in mind is while the cost of health insurance is increasing for both employers and employees, the percentage of the cost borne by the employee is not changing very much. Cost shifting is a sign of the times."
She says the increase is partially due to changing structure of America's labor force as the workforce is growing older and the unhealthy lifestyle choices that make employees more expensive to insure.
McGeary says employers will try to keep down costs by rewarding employees for healthier lifestyles or providing stronger incentives for workers to use primary medical care and preventive health care services.
McGeary may be reached at 765-285-5378 or firstname.lastname@example.org .