Nightly News   |  December 01, 2013

Are companies passing on health care costs to employees?

Some employers have drastically increased health care prices, citing, in part, the Affordable Health Care Act. But critics contend the law is not responsible for skyrocketing premiums. NBC’s Lisa Myers reports.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> this is the time of year when roughly 75 million americans get their health insurance through big company and find out how much it will cost them next year. for some there is sticker shock. experts say a part of the affordable care act is causing some employers with generous health plans to reduce benefits. but there are other causes as well. here's nbc senior investigative correspondent, lisa myers .

>> reporter: andrea and her family count themselves among the fortunate. she works for a big company which for years has provided good health insurance at an affordable price until this year. what was it like when you opened your notice this year?

>> it was pretty dumbfounding. i had to read it twice. i thought it was a misprint.

>> reporter: for andrea, her husband and son patrick, premium there's jump from $313 a month to $575. an 80% increase. plus, a new wrinkle. an add $250 a month charge for her husband since he could get insurance through his own job.

>> absolutely no way we could swing this additional cost. neither one of russ getting pay increases or even cost of living increases.

>> reporter: her company blame the change on rising health care costs and health care reform . including a new $63 per person fee that helps subsidize premiums for those getting insurance on obama care exchanges. experts tell us the new health care law is getting blamed for some things for which it is not responsible. experts say any added costs for big companies are not nearly enough to justify double digit premium increases that some workers are seeing.

>> we estimate that the impact has been modest. roughly 1% to 2% increase above what employers would have paid.

>> reporter: one expert says any premium increase of 10% is almost certainly a company shifting costs to employees. the new charges for spouses, they have nothing to do with the law according to a survey, 16% of company now either charge extra or deny coverage for spouses who can get coverage elsewhere. as for an dree, a even though the experts say otherwise, she blame the law as well as her company.

>> i am part of that percentage who was told you will be able to keep your coverage but that's not what happened.

>> reporter: she has the option of switching her husband to her husband's company less expensive plan. but would prefer to have kept the insurance she had. lisa myers , nbc news, alexandria, virginia.