Health care deductibles increasing across the state
More Wisconsin families are spending at least $1,000 a year on health care before their insurance benefits totally kick in.
The Mercer consulting firm says the average deductible has more than doubled from last year's amount of $500. They averaged just $250 back in 2000.
Raising deductibles is one way employers pass their increasing health costs directly onto their workers. The problem is more acute in Wisconsin, because employer health costs are 18 percent higher than the national average.
Mercer said the average employer health cost in the state this year was just more than $10,000 for each covered worker. The national average is about $8,500.
Mercer says employers have to do something to keep health costs from running them over.
If they do nothing, Mercer says employer costs would rise just more than 8 percent next year.
The average increase will actually be about 6 percent, as a good share of companies have already said they'll make employees pay more.
Bob Leisure of Waukesha Bearings says it can't be helped. His firm went to a high-deductible plan and health savings accounts over the last two years and the company still had a big cost increase.