Health care costs for employers who cover health insurance for workers will increase 9% in 2010 — well ahead of general price inflation and workers’ earnings.

However, the recession will, “temper medical costs,” according to PricewaterhouseCoopersBehind the numbers: Medical cost trends for 2010.

With employers — that is, business and profits — taking it on the chin in 2009, employees can expect even greater cost burdens for health benefits in 2010, PwC says. 42% of employers will increase employees’ contributions to benefits, and 41% will also increase medical cost sharing. At the same time, over 2 in 3 employers will grow wellness programs — even though most don’t see these programs controlling health cost trend.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: Just over one year ago, I wrote about PwC’s 2009 Behind the numbers forecast.

In the last five years, health insurance premiums have increased 4X faster than wages. This is expected to happen again in 2010.

If the U.S. emerges from recession in 2010, it will be a so-called ‘wageless recovery.’ It may also be a jobless recovery. The double-whammy of unemployed-uninsured will combine with insured-but-unaffordable benefits for many workers as the gap between wages and health out-of-pockets (premium shares, copays, and coinsurance) widens in 2010.

This is the scenario without Congress passing health reform that seeks to cover the uninsured, bridge the gaps of the underinsured, and slow the ever-rising costs of health care in America.

Even with the passage of health reform in 2009, the impacts of such legislation won’t be felt until after 2010.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked