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California hospitals not immune to soaring insurance costs

A statewide survey shows average annual insurance costs of $10,992 per employee, an 11% increase over last year.

August 09, 2011|By Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times

California hospitals, the very places that care for the sick, are struggling to afford healthcare for their own employees.

Like other types of employers, many of the state's hospitals say they are confronted by soaring health insurance bills.

A new statewide survey shows that hospitals face average insurance costs this year of $10,992 per employee, an 11% increase over last year.

Because a majority of hospitals pick up the entire cost of insurance for their workers, the financial burden falls entirely on them, according to the healthcare benefits survey by Keenan HealthCare, a division of Keenan & Associates, the state's largest independent insurance brokerage.

California's troubled budget outlook and requirements under the new national healthcare law could drive up the costs even more, the survey of 231 hospitals found.

"Like every other enterprise, hospitals are facing increased health insurance costs and are actively looking for ways to stop or at least slow that trend," Steve Richter, senior vice president of Keenan HealthCare, said in statement accompanying the survey. "Just because you are a healthcare provider doesn't mean you get a break on your insurance."

duke.helfand@latimes.com

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