As Health Care Costs Spikes, Jobs and Pay Go Down

Check out this great new piece by AARP's Michael Zielenziger on how the rising cost of health care is costing older workers their pay wages, and even their jobs:

"According to the Kaiser study, health insurance premiums across America have climbed 131 percent since 1999--far more rapidly than workers' wages, which rose 38 percent, or inflation, which rose 28 percent in the same period.

Only 60 percent of U.S. firms offer health benefits to any of their workers, the survey reports. Among those firms, 21 percent said they reduced health benefits or increased cost-sharing because of the economic downturn, while 15 percent reported they increased the worker's share of the premium.

Now, more workers with health insurance are paying higher deductibles when they receive medical care, the Kaiser study says. In 2006, only 10 percent of workers had to pay the first $1,000 of their medical bills before receiving insurance benefits. Today, 22 percent of workers must pay at least $1,000 out of pocket each year before their insurance starts to pay a portion of their medical bills. A demand for plans with higher deductibles frequently comes from smaller firms, with less than 200 workers."

The multiple first-hand accounts of small business employers serves as a reality check of the choices they're faced with. Check out the entire piece here.

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