The Price We Pay for Health Care
Compare your benefits to Oregonians from all walks of life
By Melody Finnemore
As health care costs continue
to rise, a growing number of Oregon employees are paying more toward their
monthly premiums while having fewer benefit plans to choose from. Many
small business owners have no health insurance at all.
Employers in Oregon and Southwest Washington actually pay more than the
national average to provide health insurance to employees, according to
Mercer Human Resources Consulting. The cost—about $8,000 a year
per employee—rose 9 percent in Oregon and 8.3 percent in Washington
last year compared to 6.1 percent nationally.
Mercer attributed the higher cost in part to the number of public employees
represented in the survey. Of the 3,000 firms surveyed nationwide and
the 66 in Oregon and Washington that responded, one-fourth were public
sector employers, which traditionally offer bigger benefits packages.
The annual report, released late last year, also showed that more employers
are offsetting the rising costs of providing health care coverage by asking
employees to foot a larger portion of the bill through higher deductibles
and co-pays. In addition, employers are offering fewer plans for employees
to choose from.
Life Expectancy vs. Universal Healthcare
We talked with people in a variety of occupations across the state about
their benefits to provide a snapshot survey of health care coverage in
Elementary Music Specialist at Woodland Elementary School, Reynolds School
District offers options, and individual teacher selects a program. Dental
care is covered 100 percent. Vision coverage includes full eye exam. Pick’s
school district contributes an average of $640 per month toward her major
Annual average salary: $60,000
Senior project manager for Walsh Construction Co., Portland
Employer provides self-insured plan for medical, dental, vision, and prescriptions.
Employee coverage is free. Entire family is $60 per month pre-tax. Major
medical covered at 90 percent. Average annual salary: Average
annual salary for a Sr. Project Manager position in Oregon is $108,661.
Field Operations Supervisor with Clackamas County Dog Services, Oregon
Benefits include choice of three medical plans—full family coverage
(includes a vision package); choice of 3 dental plans—full family
coverage; Employee Assistance Program—100 percent employer paid.
Depending on plan choice, there are little to no employee contributions
(ex: Kaiser, $10 co-pay/visit).
Salary: $45,000 a year
Oregon Support Services Manager, Intel Corp., Hillsboro
Family of seven receives full medical, dental and life insurance for all
family members with a 24 percent contribution to medical and 21 percent
contribution to dental plans.
Average annual salary: “Covered wage”
of Intel Oregon employees in 2004 was $91,477. (Includes bonuses, overtime
and options, etc.)
Graphic designer at Zapp Printing LLC, Portland
Employer fully covers medical and dental insurance for full-time employees.
Annual salary: $25,000
Portland Winter Hawks team captain
Medical insurance is fully covered through Hockey Canada league.
Average annual salary: Per diem. Host families cover some living expenses.
Education expenses covered while playing, plus one-year college scholarship
for every year played. Per diem: 16-year-old—$250/mo; 17—$300;
18—$400; 19—$500; and 20—$600.
Associate attorney at Perkins Coie LLP, Portland
Benefits include full medical and dental coverage for employees. Vision
coverage is available at a cost of $6 per month.
Average annual salary: The range for first-year
associate to senior associate salaries in Portland is $90,000 to $140,000.
Curtis Smith III
Table games dealer at Spirit Mountain Casino, Grand Ronde
Full coverage for medical, dental, vision, prescriptions, and employee
assistance programs. $250 annual deductible for employees and a $750 annual
deductible for an employee’s family. The employee insurance plan
includes a flexible spending account.
Average hourly salary: $20-$22/hr. (Hours vary)
Produce demo clerk at Seven Corners New Seasons Market, Portland
All employees receive medical and dental benefits. Full-time employees
(20 hours/week or more) pay 20 percent of the cost of their benefits.
Part-time employees (12-19 hours/week) contribute 50 percent toward their
Average hourly salary: $9.00-$14.50 per hour
Mortgage broker and principal at Evergreen Ohana Group, Portland
Health coverage includes medical and dental. No vision coverage. Employer
covers the employee only. Employees are responsible for spouses or dependents,
so Dean pays $609/month for his wife and three children. Employer costs
are $325/mo per employee (medical, prescription and dental)
Salary: Annual average is $135,000 (100 percent
Owner of Garland Taylor CPA PC, Portland
Taylor’s wife is a public school teacher so he receives his benefits
through her job. They have PPO medical, vision and dental. The Taylor’s
contribution is $150/month to the $900/month family plan.
Average annual salary: $60,000
Mail carrier, Gresham
U.S. Postal Service offers full medical, dental and prescription coverage;
Gary contributes $90 a month toward insurance.
Photographer and website designer, Joseph
As a self-employed professional, Baird pays for 100 percent of his medical
insurance and has a $2,500 deductible. Baird estimates coverage for him
and his wife, who receives her insurance through the Oregon Health Plan,
is about $700 each month.
Annual average salary: $30,000
Captain Greg Ladrow
Firefighter with Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue
Employer pays $900/month toward medical, dental and vision. Ladrow pays
$33/month, not including annual deductibles or co-pays.
Annual average salary: $55,300
Associate minister, Crossroads Church, Portland
Medical is fully covered by employer, with a $10 co-pay for employee.
Employee incentive plan provides total dental coverage if employee has
annual exams and cleanings. Vision plan includes $10 co-pay for exams;
glasses and contact lenses are out-of-pocket expense.
Average annual salary: $45,000
Health insurance is provided through Public Employees’ Benefits
Board and includes full medical, dental and vision coverage.
Annual salary: $96,300
Multnomah County Circuit Court Judge
Health insurance is provided through the Public Employees’ Benefits
Board and includes full medical, vision, dental, and prescription coverage,
as well as a Health Savings Account, which was added as a benefit this
Annual salary: $95,800
Owner of Allegri Wine Shop, Gresham
Accident insurance policy covers his family for up to $2,500 worth of
care if they are injured in an accident. Health insurance is too costly.
Average annual salary: $20,000
Civil engineer at Black & Veatch, Lake Oswego
Health benefits include medical, vision, and dental for employee and spouse.
Employee’s monthly contribution is approximately $215. Employer’s
monthly contribution is approximately $450. Doctor visit co-pay is $15
and prescription co-pay is between $10 and $20.
Average annual salary: $70,000
Brewmaster for Rogue Ales Oregon Brewery, Newport
Health benefits include medical, prescription and dental. Rogue Ales pays
70 percent of employee premiums. Employees pay premiums for dependents.
Salary: Not disclosed
Executive director of Oregon Rehabilitation Association, Salem
Medical, dental and vision are fully covered by the association. Prescription
coverage is available with a $15 co-pay. The association contributes $20
a month toward a membership at a fitness club or other fitness activities.
Average annual salary: $85,000
Health insurance is provided by husband’s employer, a Portland architecture
firm. The Breshears family pays $730 a month for coverage for two adults
and two children. Medical: PPO family coverage with $10 co-pay. Dental
family coverage with $10 co-pay. Co-pays for prescriptions and ER visits.
General manager of Lithia Springs Resort, Ashland
No health benefits available through Lithia Springs Resort. Springer receives
COBRA benefits through a previous employer.
Average annual salary: $35,000