Money in the Middle

Sandwich Generation Talking About Money Up, Down and Across Generations

A New Financial Reality in the Workplace and Retirement

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Some good news from the work place.  Employers are beginning to talk about restoring 401(k) matches and reverse hiring freezes within the next six months.  A bit of optimism sure sounds good after so much negative news.  

 However, there is some not so good news for deductions from those paychecks:  Many of the companies surveyed expect health care costs paid by the employee to increase in 2010, according to the Watson Wyatt survey of large companies.

  • 40 percent of respondents are planning to shift more health care benefit costs to workers by increasing the percentage of premiums they pay.
  • Another 41 percent of companies expect to increase the deductibles, copays or out-of-pocket maximums for their 2010 health care plans.

 Looks like there is a new reality in both the workplace and retirement as we begin (hopefully) to come out of the recession.  

 “Some employers are seeing the light at the end of tunnel and feeling optimistic about the prospect of improved business results,” said Laura Sejen, global director of strategic rewards consulting at Watson Wyatt. “However, even as some of the program cuts are rolled back, many employees are facing smaller raises, lower bonuses and higher health care costs.”

 What To Do Now?

If you’re working, you’ll start seeing open enrollment information soon.  So, this is a good time to take a look at the health care plan you have, how you have used it in the past year and what you’ll want to look for if you change plans. If you have appointments to schedule, do it now in case your co-pay goes up.  

Also if you’ve met your deductible and you have elective procedures yet to be done, try to schedule them this year so you can get them in under this year’s deductible.

 The same goes for those retired and on Medicare.  The open enrollment period begins Nov. 15 for Part D and Medicare Advantage plans.  Part D premiums are expected to rise slightly.  But, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan you may see significant increases in premiums or changes in benefits.


Written by Laura Rossman

August 20, 2009 at 6:37 pm

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