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Employers, workers expect higher costs: surveys


By Rebecca Vesely
Posted: January 24, 2011 - 2:00 pm ET
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Many employers and workers expect their healthcare costs to rise under federal health reform, but total employer spending for health benefits is expected to actually decrease, according to two new reports.

About one-half of workers surveyed said they expect their healthcare costs to increase under reform, while 40% of employers said they would pass those higher costs on to their workers, according to a survey by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (PDF).

Nearly two-thirds of employers surveyed said they were only somewhat knowledgeable or not very knowledgeable about the health reform law, according to the survey.

But another report, by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute, indicated that overall, employer-sponsored coverage under the health reform law won't change significantly.

Total employer spending would in fact be 0.6% lower, and spending by small firms would be 8.7% lower, largely because of cost savings in the new health insurance exchanges, expected to be operational in 2014. However, spending by medium-size firms would go up by 11.8%, while large employers would be unaffected, according to the report.

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