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Cost of insuring employees in Seattle will spike again next year

October 22, 2013 J

While 2013 marked a slowdown in the rise of employee health costs, that’s all about to change in 2014, according to a new study by risk management firm Aon Hewitt.

The per-employee cost of health insurance in the Seattle market rose 3.1 percent to an average of $12,371 for 2013, up from $11,995 in 2012.

But next year, Seattle employers should prepare for a projected 7.2 percent increase in employee insurance costs, for an average of $13,263 per worker in 2014.

That will put Seattle’s costs above national projections for a 6.7 percent increase in 2014 with an average cost per employee of $11,176.

Overall, health costs per employee have been growing more slowly in recent years, both in Seattle and nationwide. But the factors contributing to that won’t continue in the long term, and slowed growth probably won’t either, according to Aon Hewitt.

“Additionally, employers and insurers will now be subject to new transitional reinsurance fees and health insurance industry fees (under the Affordable Care Act),” said Tim Nimmer, chief health care actuary at Aon Hewitt, in a statement. “While we are seeing pockets of promising innovation in the health care industry, we expect to see 2014 premium increases shift back towards the 6 percent to 7 percent range overall.”

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