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Local Health Insurance Costs Going Up

Workers see deductibles and premiums going up.

DUNCANSVILLE, BLAIR COUNTY - A new survey in Central Pennsylvania probably confirms what you already knew--your healthcare costs are going up.
 
The survey of more than 100 companies finds that employees share of premium costs and the amount of their deductibles has continued to rise over the past four years.

According to the report by Conrad Siegel Actuaries, the most common change is an increase in deductibles. In 2010, few healthcare plans required employees to pay deductibles. Now, more than half have deductibles of $500 or more, and over a third have deductibles greater than $1,000.

A local firm that manages employee benefits calls it a challenging year for companies renewing healthcare policies. Many are seeing increases in double digits, some up to 50 percent.

As for workers, at L.R. Webber and Associates in Blair County, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Beckie Beck says, "their out-of-pocket exposure may be going from about $500 all the way up to $3000, whenever you account for the co-insurance and deductible increases."
 
And Beck says companies and workers in our region are actually getting hit by a double whammy. She says UPMC and Highmark had been keeping prices lower in order to each increase their share of the healthcare business, but that seems to have ended.

Beck estimates that 25 percent of the increase in heathcare insurance costs locally can be attributed to that issue and the remaining 75 percent to the effects of Affordable Care Act.

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