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Guess What? Your Company May Soon Stop Offering Medical Insurance — Dollars and Sense

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Joe Raedle, Getty Images

Thanks to soaring health care costs, a new study finds that nearly 10 percent of American companies will stop providing medical insurance to their workers within the next few years.

More than 160 million Americans have insurance through employer-sponsored plans, with many companies saying offering the perk helps them attract and retain workers.

But while wages last year only grew an average of 2.1 percent, the cost of healthcare benefits went up nine percent during the same time period. What’s to blame?

Most of the nearly 600 companies surveyed by Deloitte blamed hospitals, followed by money-draining inefficiencies and unhealthy lifestyles. So in a cost-cutting move, more employers are exploring new ways to provide health benefits.

For example, some will launch contribution plans wherein they give workers money to help cover the costs of buying insurance on the open market or in a private exchange, while others are considering contracting directly with hospitals and large physician groups to save money.

More than eight in 10 of the companies polled said they would continue to offer health benefits to employees after the Affordable Care Act goes into effect in 2014, with 10 percent saying they weren’t sure.

But there was one thing on which most companies agreed: the current health care system in the US is a mess. More than half gave it a performance grade of C or worse.

[Los Angeles Times]

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