Here come the higher healthcare premiums for employer-provided plans

That is to say, higher healthcare premiums and major changes in the attempt to control costs have already arrived and will keep on arriving, as we knew they would — but here are some quantifiers, via USA Today:

More employees are getting hit with higher health insurance premiums and co-payments, and many don’t have the money to cover unexpected medical expenses, a new report finds.

More than half of companies (56%) increased employees’ share of health care premiums or co-payments for doctors’ visits in 2013, and 59% of employers say they intend to do the same in 2014, according to the annual Aflac WorkForces Report. It’s based on a survey of 1,856 employers and 5,209 employees at small, medium and large-size companies.

In 2013, 19% of companies implemented a major medical plan with a high deductible (more than $1,000) and Health Savings Accounts as an alternative to a traditional medical plan, the study finds. …

The need to control costs is driving many companies’ decisions on benefits, Owenby says. The report shows that almost half of employers (49%) agree that controlling costs is the primary objective…

As the report notes, it’s true that healthcare premiums have been rising beyond inflation for over a decade, which is partially attributable to the rise in overall healthcare costs over those years — but the rate at which those prices had been increasing had been slowing down, a deceleration for which the Obama administration bizarrely tried to assign some credit to ObamaCare (if ObamaCare deserves kudos for slowing down the rise in healthcare costs before it’s even fully implemented, what’s to stop ObamaCare from deserving the blame for accelerating healthcare costs when it is fully implemented?). Anyhow, the larger point here is that, even though it was largely people in the individual market that felt the first major shock waves in ObamaCare Phase One, people in employer-based plans are not going to be at all shielded from the effects of the law as employers and employees alike try to cope with their accelerating healthcare expenses.