Job-based health insurance costs will rise again for NJ workers in 2018
If you receive health benefits through your employer, expect another uptick in how much is taken out of each paycheck in 2018.
New Jersey employers expect their health care costs will rise by an average of 5 percent, according to a survey of employer-sponsored health plans from Mercer, an employee-benefits consulting firm based in Princeton.
"Employee cost-sharing is staying relatively stable, so we would expect that if employer costs are going up 5 percent, employee costs are also going up by 5 percent," Mercer consultant Rich Fuerstenberg told New Jersey 101.5.
New Jersey employees saw a cost increase of 5.1 percent in 2017, the survey shows. The average monthly contribution amount for employee-only coverage in the most common plans is $152. A 5 percent jump in 2018 means an additional contribution of $7-$8.
According to the survey, employers estimate that if they made no changes to their current plans offered, costs next year would jump by nearly 7 percent. But plan and/or vendor changes helped them subdue the increase by a small amount.
Fuerstenberg said New Jersey and the nation have seen a yearly health-benefit cost increase in the 3 percent to 6 percent range over the past few years.
"Outside of a seismic shift, I think that's what we're likely to see in the foreseeable future," he said.
Mercer suggests employees "take a long hard look at their benefit options" upon open enrollment.
"Keep an eye out for what's changing," Fuerstenberg said. "It's a good time to blow the dust off your calculator, get out your smartphone, and do a little bit of number crunching."
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.