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Have health care costs increased in the past year? If so, how have those increases affected your business?

District Voices

Published January 1, 2003  |  January 2003 issue

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District Voices

They've increased so much that we had to discontinue providing health insurance to our employees in May. They went up 25 percent in the second quarter and were going to rise again in the next quarter.
Jan Lavalley, Human Resources Manager
Holiday Travel and Tour—Marquette, Mich.
Nine Employees

Tremendously. Over the last three to four years, for every [health benefit] dollar we're taking in we're spending $1.35. We're going to have to make modifications to stay afloat. Prescription usage alone is up 30 percent to 40 percent in the past two to three years. In the last two years our overall health care costs have gone up 55 percent to 60 percent. We were told by an actuary to expect health and welfare cost increases 10 percent to 12 percent per year in the next decade. This is a real concern for us. We're not getting the type of wage increases to substantiate the increase in health care costs.
John Forkan, Business Manager
Plumbers and Pipefitters, Local 141—Butte, Mont.
1,200 Employees

We changed insurance companies so our rate could drop a little. [Health insurance] is so expensive, but we can't live without it. [The rate] decreased maybe 5 percent, so there hasn't been much of an impact on the business.
Dan Beckler, Owner
Beckler Construction—Redfield, S.D.
Five Employees

Yes, about 5 percent. What we've done is pass on more of the deductible to our employees. Our total health care costs in the past 10 years have been so substantial that we're very careful about hiring full-time employees. We hire more temporary employees if we can. It's definitely a big part of total employment costs.
Howard Dahl, President
Amity Technology, LLC—Fargo, N.D.
150 Employees

Yes, they have gone up considerably, about 30 percent. It hasn't affected business. It has affected employees because they have to pay a higher premium now. As a midsize company it's hard to find health insurance. We had a difficult time finding a carrier for this year. We're not as protected as smaller companies where [the insurance company] has to give direct quotes on coverage.
Connie Didlo, Human Resources Manager
Inter-County Leader Newspaper—Frederic, Wis.
50 Employees

In June they went up 7 percent, which was lower compared to last year [2001] because two employees, who had high health care costs, left the company. Increases have been in the double digits for the past five years. We're expecting a 15 percent increase next June. Because costs are so high, we changed our rate of coverage from 80 percent to 75 percent. It hasn't affected hiring. If we still have increases in the next few years, we'll look into reducing plan costs. At this point we've absorbed them.
Pam Ringgenberg, Human Resources Manager
Summit Brewery—St. Paul, Minn.
43 Employees

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