U.S. employers will see healthcare costs rise 9 percent in 2010 and they expect their workers to pay a greater share of their health plans, consultant PricewaterhouseCoopers said on Thursday.
PwC's annual medical costs trends report also said more workers are likely to utilize their health insurance coverage because they fear they will lose their jobs, and more uninsured and underinsured people will turn to Medicaid for coverage.
The cost increase will be offset in part by cost declines from expected U.S. health care reforms and the potential for high deductible health plans and wellness programs, PwC said.
According to 500 employers surveyed by PWC, 42 percent will increase their workers' share of healthcare costs in 2010 and 41 percent said they would change the design of health care plans to increase medical cost sharing.
Employers are squeezing dollars out of their programs to save money, Mike Thompson, principal at PricewaterhouseCoopers global human resource solutions group, said in a statement.
As the economy recovers, employers will refocus on more sustainable longer term approaches to medical cost containment based on an increasingly shared interest between employers and their workers.
(Reporting by I-Ching Ng; Editing by Brian Moss)