The cost of employer-provided health benefits in the U.S. is expected to increase by an average of five per cent in 2022 to more than US$13,000 per employee, according to a new survey by Aon.

The survey, based on information from a database of more than 700 U.S. employers, found that, in 2021, budgeted health-care costs increased to an average of $12,792 per employee, up 5.2 per cent from 2020.

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In terms of 2021 plan costs, employer costs were budgeted to increase by 6.2 per cent, while employee premiums were slated to increase by just 1.2 per cent from 2020. On average, employers subsidized about 81 per cent of their plan cost in 2021, up slightly from 80 per cent in 2020.

In 2021, employees contributed roughly $4,505 for health-care coverage, of which $2,482 was paid in the form of premiums from their pay and $2,023 was paid through plan design features such as deductibles, copays and co-insurance.

“In a tight labour market, employers are willing to absorb most of the health-care cost increases,” said Ed Cwikla, chief global actuary for health solutions at Aon, in a press release. “Employers are budgeting higher due to uncertainty and the anticipation of members facing health conditions with increased severity due to unmanaged or undiagnosed chronic conditions, long-haul COVID-19 patients and those with increased mental-health needs.”

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