Published January 1, 2003 | January 2003 issue
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 TourMarquette, Mich.
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
John Forkan, Business Manager
Plumbers and Pipefitters, Local 141Butte, Mont.
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 ConstructionRedfield, S.D.
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, LLCFargo, N.D.
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 NewspaperFrederic, Wis.
In June they went up 7 percent, which was lower compared to last
year  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 BrewerySt. Paul, Minn.