It’s annual enrollment time, the autumn period when many people with job-based health insurance ante up for another year.
Although news reports have fixated on the problems with the online health marketplaces that launched Oct. 1, for the vast majority of people that’s a nonissue. If they get insurance through a job at a company that has at least 50 employees, they probably won’t be using the marketplaces, also called exchanges.
Overall, premium increases will be moderate in 2014, averaging 5.2 percent,according to a 2013 employer survey about planned health care changes by the human resources consultant Towers Watson. Last year, the increase was projected to be 5.9 percent in 2013.
But employers may raise rates disproportionately for spouses and dependents, the survey found. The health law requires plans to cover dependent children up to age 26, and most plans cover spouses too. But employers continue to try to minimize those costs by making it financially less attractive to employees to cover their family members. They may charge separately for each child on a plan, for example, or add a surcharge for covering a spouse who is also offered insurance through his or her own job. Some, such as UPS,have moved to cut off coverage...