Employer-sponsored health costs up 6.3% in 2021, making for hazy 2022 outlook, report says

Employer-sponsored health costs rose 6.3 percent on average in 2021, nearly doubling 2020's average increase and raising questions about what 2022 may bring, according to a Dec. 13 Mercer report

The increase — the largest since 2010 — brings average per-employee costs to $14,542, according to a Mercer news release

The jump is largely attributed to employees seeking care again after pandemic-era delays, but is also tied to a 7.4 percent increase on prescription drug spending by large employers. 

However, the jump raises questions about whether the spike is a correction to last year's lower cost trend or here to stay. Mercer predicts a 4.4 percent increase in 2022, but claims "catch-up" care, long-COVID-19 and possible inflation could make that number rise, according to the news release.

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