His company's survey also found that a total of 44 percent of people with employer-provided insurance said they are shelling out more dollars in deductibles and copayments than they were a year ago. And 47 percent of that group of people reported having more money deducted from their paycheck to pay the cost of those insurance plans than in 2012.
People earning between $50,000 and $75,000 annually were the most affected group: with 64 percent of them reporting a bigger hit on their paychecks from health insurance. Just 38 percent of the people earning less than $30,000 reported paying more for insurance in payroll deductions as of 2013.
'Cadillac tax' wallop
Whiteman attributed the jump in the number of people reporting increases in their out-of-pocket expenses to companies anticipating Obamacare's so-called Cadillac tax, which beginning in 2018 will levy a 40 percent tax on company insurance benefits that exceed $10,200 for an individual and $27,500 for a family.
"Some employers are citing the Cadillac tax as the reason they are paring back some of their health insurance benefits," Whiteman said. Increasing deductibles—which forces employees to pay a bigger share of their medical care and possibly may make them more price-conscious about using their benefits—is one strategy companies are using to address the tax.
He said that trend will "most definitely" strengthen the closer it gets to 2018.
But insurance executive David Sterling, while saying anticipation of that tax has played some role in employees paying more for their health costs, contended that a number of other Obamacare mandates are spurring the upward trend of insurance prices.
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"One of my clients called me yesterday, he has a small group, with a few employees, and United [HealthCare] sent out a communication that the premium went up 18 percent, and [it] had already gone up about 20 percent in 2013," said Sterling, CEO of Sterling Healthworks, the health-care reform arm of SterlingRisk. "I'm getting calls from my customers, they're saying, 'Who can afford these premiums, we've never seen premiums this high.' "