Released yesterday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics quarterly Employment Cost Index showed private sector health benefits increased 2.7 percent in 2016, versus only 2.3 percent for wages.
Overall, private-sector benefits grew only 1.8 percent, indicating non-health benefits would have grown little if at all. State and local government workers’ benefits grew 3.1 percent, 72 percent faster than private-sector benefits!
Remarkably, the ECI does not break health benefits out of state and local workers’ benefit costs, like it does for private workers. Thee better source for that is United Benefit Advisors annual Health Plan Survey. Wages of state and local workers increased 2.1 percent.
Although Obamacare has had an impact on employers’ health costs, it has not been as catastrophic as some anticipated. Nevertheless, employer-based health spending is still growing faster than wages, eating more of our paychecks.