Microsoft held a meeting with employees today, letting them know that the company plans to make changes to its health care plan, requiring workers to eventually start paying a portion of the insurance costs.
The software maker will continue to pay the full costs for worker health insurance for the next two years, before making workers start to contribute in 2013.
"We can confirm that Microsoft has begun to evolve its employee health care benefit," Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos said in a statement. "There will be no changes for the next two years, but in 2013, employees will contribute to their health care. A guiding principle in this evolution is that Microsoft will continue to offer market-leading health and wellness benefits that rank among the best in the country."
The company didn't go into details on what exactly employees will have to pay, but said there will be a maximum amount that workers will have to pay both individually and as a family. Microsoft currently pays 100 percent of the cost of coverage for workers as well as for a spouse or domestic partner and children.
Rising health care costs have caused even the most generous of employers to rethink their strategies. However, cutting benefits is particularly risky for companies like Microsoft that aim to recruit the best and brightest and that face steep competition in recruiting from rivals like Google and Facebook as well as from start-ups that can offer early stock and other perks.