An annual survey by a Des Moines consulting firm shows the cost of insurance coverage for businesses has gone up by double digits for the fourth straight year. David Lind of Lind and Associates conducted the survey of businesses with over 20 employees, and found insurance costs went up nearly 16-percent in the last year.He says the 15-point-seven-percent increase in 2004 compares to 18-point-two percent in 2003 and 18-point-eight percent in 2002 and percent and 17-point-four percent in 2001. Lind says the good news is the increases appear to be slowing. He says the increases are not as high as they have been in the past few years, and he says they hope that trend will continue. Lind says employers have been reluctant to pass the increases directly to employees, and instead have tried to redesign their insurance plans in a variety of ways.Such as increasing the deductibles, increasing the office co-pay, and co-pays for prescription drugs. He says the deductibles are about double what they were in 2002. Lind says the predominate change right now is toward what’s known as consumer driven health care. He says that means the employer provides a higher deductible plan, and also includes some type of medical spending account to help alleviate the high deductible. He says the employee under the new concept will hopefully be more judicious about how they spend the money for health care costs. To see the complete results of the 2004 Iowa Employer Benefits Study, you can surf to:www.dplaconsulting.com.
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