The survey of 3,300 companies found that:
- the number of employers who will increase employee contributions increased to 40%, up from 21% in 1999
- while 17% will increase cost sharing, up from 9% in 1999
The increase in the price of prescription drugs was found to be a major component of medical plan cost increases. In 2000 the size of this component increased by 17%.
At the same time:
- co-payments for generic drugs rose from $7 to $8,
- while brand name drug co-payments rose from $14 to $16.
In addition, the downward trend in retiree medical coverage continued in 2000. The percentage of future retirees covered has dropped at a rate of about 2% every year since 1993.
The survey also found that while more small employees were shopping for cheaper plans, with 38% of them offering HMOs in 2000, up from 33% in 1999, the increase in enrolments in HMOs for large employees increased by only 2%.
Data collected in the survey points to the following trends in the future:
- Employers will share more of the cost with their employees
- Employers will search for new cost control methods, making better use of the internet and e-health programs and encouraging more employee involvement.