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health | labor

Health care most costly workplace benefit

SAN FRANCISCO - The cost of providing health care to workers has surpassed that of paid leave as the most expensive benefit for employers, according to a new report.
August 6, 2004

Knight Ridder News

In the first quarter of this year, medical benefits accounted for 23 percent of compensation outside of wages compared with 22.6 percent for paid leaves, including vacations and sick time, according to a study from the Employment Policy Foundation, an economic-research foundation that focuses on workplace issues.

It's the first time in the past 10 years that health-care costs exceeded the paid leave category, foundation president Ed Potter said.

Employer spending on health benefits jumped 12.4 percent from 2002 to 2003, more than five times the inflation rate, he said, noting that small employers face cost increases that are far higher.

``The private sector, as far as I can see, has essentially maxed out on what it's able to do,'' Potter said. ``When you have large companies who historically have been able to pay who no longer are able to be competitive by paying the bill, you come to appreciate there's a problem here.''

The EPF, which receives about half of its funding from businesses, examined government data from about 8,200 private employers.

It found that employers spent nearly $331 billion last year for employee health insurance, a 51 percent jump since 1998, when they spent $219 billion.

U.S. companies paid $3.80 per hour, on average, for each worker who participated in their health plans in 2003.

The ballooning tab for medical benefits bodes poorly for workers' raises, Potter said.

``It's such an increasing part of the overall compensation for employees that there is the inevitable consequence that wage increases are going to be affected by this,'' Potter said.

``Gradually, this benefit cost alone is eating away at the overall compensation pie."

homepage: homepage: http://www.oregoniansforhealthsecurity.org/

paid leave? 07.Aug.2004 00:11


When did we get paid leave?

Health care cost have been the most expensive for sometime with a family its a big cost. Its a mortgage payment But why...?

The health care supply has been limited. But by whom or what?

What changes can be made to bring cost in line with demand.

Is there a medical college about? Is it hard to get in? Are they spending their money the best way possible? Is more medical folks the answer? What fraction increase will dilute the wage? How could small practices save cost and hospitals be maintained?

Can low cost medicine have malpractice support for its incedental victims?
the medical problem
the medical problem

... 07.Aug.2004 12:24

this thing here

hmm, maybe the europeans and canadians would have something to say about healthcare strategies.

ooh wait. gee i'm sorry. i forgot this is america, a special place where ideas that work elsewhere just won't work here. also, americans don't get sick like people in other countries, so their solutions simply don't apply for that resoan as well.

well, there's obviously nothing that anyone here can do. let's just let those prices skyrocket higher and higher, becoming more and more of a burden to business and to individuals, becoming the single most expensive "benefit" provided by employers, and the single most expensive cost to individual household incomes, and whine our asses off because "there's nothing we can do about it", no single payer, no price caps, nothing, nothing at all, whine whine whine when solutions are staring us in the face...

Actually.... 07.Aug.2004 22:12

George Bender

Right on, but actually I would like to hear a lot more whining. Louder. So those in power will have to hear us. Get nasty. Don't vote for them until the meet our needs.

High Health Care Costs Help Keep the Labor Supply Compliant 09.Aug.2004 14:22


Is it possible that our fear of being ill and without the means to pay for our care keep us tied to our jobs? Is it possible that many of us would find that we could live simply and manage without a job that consumed us, if we were not afraid of being without health care? Is it possible that we would not put up with the many indignities tht we suffer at work if we were not so fearful about becoming ill and destitute.