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Employers Continue To Shift Healthcare Benefits Costs To Employees

The burden of healthcare benefits continues to shift to employees as employers face higher costs with union members being the least affected.

At the same time, employers are exploring and adopting non-traditional benefits that may be less costly, according to the most recent Abbott, Langer Association Surveys analysis. 

The conclusions are drown in the company's newest edition of Benefits in Private Industry 2008, 2nd Edition, prepared by Abbott, Langer.

The 2008 report findings include:

  • Employees are sharing the pain of increased medical costs -- more employees are paying for individual medical coverage, and those that pay are paying more.
  • In 2007, 76% of all full-time employees had to pay a portion of single medical coverage, averaging $83 per month.  This compares to 69% in 2000, when the average cost for those employees required to pay was $54 per month.
  • Unionized employees were best able to minimize the impact of increasing costs.
  • Non-union workers were projected to pay 33% more than union workers for single medical coverage in 2008, and 59% more for family coverage.
  • The average cost for union workers for individual coverage rose only 14% from 2004 to 2008, while the cost for nonunion workers went up 24% during the same time period.
  • The contribution of an average full-time employee for family medical coverage increased 86% from $180 per month in 2000 to an estimated $334 in 2008, for a total annual payment of over $4,000.
  • About half of employees participate in a retirement plan – about 21% in defined benefit plans, but only 3% of that group are required to contribute; 45% are in a defined contribution plan.

The report includes data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Compensation Survey for years 2000 through 2007. 

The 2007 data was obtained from 8,256 private industry establishments and represents more than 108 million workers, about 77% of them in full-time jobs.  Trends for 2008 were statistically projected.

The provision of medical, vision, dental, disability, and life insurance, along with retirement plans, paid time off, and other benefits is presented since 2000, with breakouts by company employment levels (1 to 100 and over 100 employees) and type of employee (full-time or part-time; union or non-union; goods-producing, service, or service-providing workers).

Companies can use this information to help evaluate their current and future benefits changes and strategies.

Access to lifestyle benefits (such as employer assistance for child care and continuing education) and supplemental benefits offered at group rates (such as long-term care and disability insurance) is also tracked.

Copies of the 90-page report are available for $289 at  Abbott, Langer Association Surveys have been offered since 1967.

Please call 877-210-6563 or visit for more information.


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