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EMPLOYEES CONTRIBUTE SAME SHARE OF TOTAL HEALTH COSTS AS FOUR YEARS AGO, WYATT STUDY FINDS; BUT EMPLOYEE ACTUAL COST STILL RISING

EMPLOYEES CONTRIBUTE SAME SHARE OF TOTAL HEALTH COSTS AS FOUR YEARS
    AGO, WYATT STUDY FINDS; BUT EMPLOYEE ACTUAL COST STILL RISING
    WASHINGTON, Nov. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Employees contributing to their medical insurance costs continue to pay 22 percent of the total premiums for family coverage.  But, because overall costs for larger employers are increasing at 15 percent per year, the premium levels for employees are rising as fast as they are for employers.  And employees are getting hit with increasing deductibles and out-of- pocket expenses, and reduced benefits, according to Wyatt COMPARISON, a survey report presenting comparative and analytical benefit plan information.
    Employers' medical plan costs have increased at three times the general Consumer Price Index (CPI) over the past four years.  To cushion some of the blow to their bottom line, more employers are requiring employees to contribute to their health insurance.
    "Employees' share in health care costs has remained stable," said Dr. Roger Taylor, Wyatt's national leader, Health Care, "but because of the underlying increases in health care costs, employees' actual costs have shot up.  Plus, employees' wages and salaries aren't rising as fast as inflation, so they feel the pinch of health care inflation more now."
    Combining employer costs with employee contributions, total plan costs for single coverage increased 79 percent between 1987 and 1991 -- from $898 to $1,604 (not including employee out-of-pocket costs). Family coverage costs over the same period increased 72 percent, from $2,408 to $4,140.  The proportion of employees required to contribute to medical plans has increased from 58 percent in 1987 to 75 percent in 1991 for single coverage, and from 87 percent to 93 percent for family coverage.
    "Although employees are now sharing cost increases, employers are still losing the battle in fighting health care costs," explained Taylor.  "Until the underlying causes of health inflation are managed, it's a situation with no winners."
    Wyatt COMPARISON is free to participants in Wyatt's COMPARE data base and is available for purchase by others.
    The Wyatt Company is an international consulting firm specializing in the areas of human resources, financial management and systems with 3,700 employees in 70 cities.
    -0-                    11/11/91
    /NOTE:  Graph, "Total Medical Plan Costs for Family Coverage 1987-1991," and stat available./
    /CONTACT:  Jennifer Eaton, 202-508-4842, or Michael Bullard, 202-508-4848, both of the Wyatt Company/ CO:  Wyatt Company ST:  District of Columbia IN: SU: SB -- DC006 -- 2935 11/11/91 10:08 EST
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Nov 11, 1991
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