Cost shifting is the reason that health care premiums did not grow as much in 2003 as experts had predicted, according to a survey of 3,000 businesses. Premiums rose 10.1 percent last year, says Mercer Human Resources. That's considerably less than the 14 percent experts had predicted.
"In the fall of 2002, as employers were getting their first 2003 rates from the health plans, they were looking at a 14-percent increase," says Blaine Bos, one of the study's authors. "Then they took out their scalpel.... In 2003, employers took back lost ground."
NOTE: Survey sampling and weighting methodologies permit results to be projected to all U.S. employers with at least 10 employees who offer health insurance. Therefore, the survey results can be seen to represent about 600,000 employers and more than 90 million full- and part-time employees.
SOURCE: MERCER NATIONAL SURVEY OF EMPLOYER HEALTH PLANS, MERCER HUMAN RESOURCES