Hewitt Associates reported that major U.S. companies are likely to see a 7.7% healthcare rate increase in 2007 after a 7.9% increase in 2006. The 2006 increase was the lowest in eight years but still exceeded inflation and salary growth. Hewitt said the average health cost per person for major companies will increase to $8,340 in 2007, up from $7,744 this year. Employees are being asked to contribute 20% of the cost. Overall employees' total health costs, including out-of-pocket costs, are projected to rise 7.8% to $3,305 in 2007. Salaried employees, meanwhile, can expect a base salary increase of 3.7%, Hewitt said.
In its annual survey released last month, Towers Perrin projected that healthcare costs for U.S. employers would rise 6% in 2007, the fourth consecutive year of slower cost increases. A separate report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust found that premiums for employer-sponsored health plans increased 7.7% in 2006, outpacing inflation by 3.5 percentage points.