Microsoft's gold-plated employee health-care benefits are losing a bit of their gleam. The company told its employees today that they will be required to start contributing to their health care coverage beginning in two years. Microsoft's currently among a relatively small number of large U.S. corporations -- and one of very few tech giants -- that pay all of their employees' health-care premiums.
"We can confirm that Microsoft has begun to evolve its employee health care benefit," the company said in statement. "There will be no changes for the next two years, but in 2013, employees will contribute to their health care."
The move appears to anticipate rising costs under U.S. health-care reform initiatives, said insurance agent Jonathan Hanson of Hanson Benefits in Kirkland, who specializes in employee benefits.
Microsoft didn't quantify the changes, but Mary Jo Foley reports, "there'll be out-of-pocket max starting between $1,000 and $2,500 for catastrophic illnesses." She reports that the company is encouraging employees to set up health savings accounts.