Health Cost Hikes Plague Employers

September 6, 2006 ( - A new survey of employers from the Middle Atlantic states showed they were primarily concerned about the cost and quality of medical coverage.

The survey by C&B Consulting of Syosset, New York, found a whopping 94% of employers said the still escalating costs of providing employee health coverage are of primary concern to them in the benefits arena while just under half (49.9%) listed the quality of those medical services as a personal worry. C&B Consulting is a health benefits consultant.

According to the survey report, the employers also listed as primary benefit concerns:

  • Communicating Benefits & Costs to Employees –44%
  • Provider Networks –43.1%
  • Prescription Drug Utilization –39.2%
  • Health of Employees –35.8%
  • Service & Administration –34.9%
  • Catastrophic Claims -19.8%
  • Government Regulation Compliance – 14%
  • Insurance Company Consolidation –7.2%
  • Disability Costs –6.9%
  • Retiree Benefits –5.4%

The steps employers were either undertaking or planning to undertake to deal with the increased costs included negotiating with carriers ( 57.6%, 45.2%), i ncreasing contributions ( 53.9%,38.7%), p romoting a wellness program ( 36.4%,14.3%), o ffering alternative plans ( 27.9%, 32.3%) or changing carriers (26.6%,21.7%). Meanwhile, to cope with rising prescription drug costs, 63.7% promoted mail order availability, 61.8% stepped up co-pays, and 54.1% promoted use of generic drugs.

The report was compiled from the survey responses of 333New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and eastern Pennsylvania employers. Collectively, these organizations employ over 118,000 people with an average group size of 355 employees.

More information about the report is at .