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Published: Monday, 6/14/2010

Study finds employers likely to boost medical deductibles


INDIANAPOLIS - Companies that offer employee health insurance expect another steep jump in medical costs next year, and more will ask workers to share a bigger chunk of the expense, a report says.

For the first time, most U.S. workers may have deductibles of $400 or more, a PricewaterhouseCoopers report said.

Deductibles are the annual amount a patient pays out of pocket before coverage starts. They are generally separate from co-pays and coinsurance.

Two years ago, only 25 percent of firms surveyed asked workers to pay deductibles of $400 or more. That grew to 43 percent in 2010 and is likely to pass 50 percent next year.

Workers asked to pay more through higher deductibles help keep cost growth in check because they use less health care.

The health-care reform law has just started to unfold and will have little impact on costs next year, said Michael Thompson of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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