Survey: Large employers plan to shift health costs to workers

Large employers plan to cope with increasing healthcare costs by shifting part of the expense to workers next year, according to a small new survey.

The companies will rely on higher co-pays and deductibles to pass along some of the burden of their expected 6.5 percent average increase in costs, they said. 

The result will restrict increases to 5 percent for the employers, according to the survey, released Wednesday by the National Business Group on Health.

The data points to companies' desire to restrain the impact of rising healthcare costs on their budgets amid rising specialty drug costs and the implementation of the healthcare law.

To do this, most firms have increased the amount that employees must contribute toward their healthcare over time.

Thirty-two percent said they plan only to offer high-deductible health plans next year, an increase in 10 points over 2014.

The survey comes as employers prepare to comply with ObamaCare's mandate that most larger businesses offer health insurance of a certain quality to workers.

Sixteen percent said they will offer at least one plan that does not meet the minimum coverage requirements, while 2 percent said they will not offer coverage that complies with the law at all.

Only 7 percent cited the Affordable Care Act as the highest cost driver for 2015. The survey was conducted by 136 large businesses with roughly 7.5 million workers total.