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Average Annual Premiums for Family Health Benefits Top $15,000, More than Growth in Worker’s Wages

Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage increased to $15,073 this year, up 9 percent from last year, according to a recent Employer Health Benefits survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET).

On average, workers pay $4,129 and employers pay $10,944 toward those annual premiums, the survey showed.

Premiums increased significantly faster than workers’ wages (2.1 percent) and general inflation (3.2 percent). Since 2001, family premiums have more than doubled (113 percent), compared with 34 percent for workers’ wages and 27 percent for inflation.

The 13th annual Kaiser/HRET survey of small and large employers provides a detailed picture of trends in private health insurance costs and coverage. This year’s survey also looked at employers’ experiences with several already implemented provisions of the 2010 health reform law affecting employer coverage.

The study found that employers added 2.3 million young adults to their parents’ family health insurance policies. This was a direct result of the 2010 health reform provision that allowed young adults up to age 26 without employer coverage of their own to be covered as dependents on their parents’ plan. Young adults historically are more likely to be uninsured than any other age group

The study also found that one in four covered workers at small firms (3-199 employees) faced annual deductibles of $2,000 or more.

These numbers in part reflect the rise of consumer-driven plans, which are high-deductible plans that include a tax-preferred savings options such as a Health Savings Account or Health Reimbursement Arrangement. Over the past two years, more firms have started to offer these plans, and the share of covered workers enrolled in this type of plan has doubled, from 8 percent in 2009 to 17 percent in 2011. Plans that can be used with a Health Savings Account have lower premiums than other plan types, but must have annual deductibles of at least $1,200 for an individual and $2,400 for a family this year.


Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, September 27, 2011

Related stories:

Health Savings Account Enrollment Reaches 11.4 Million

Increased Hiring of Hospital Physicians May Drive Up Healthcare Costs

Health Plan Strategies for the Individual Market

This report features recent enrollment data on individual/non-group plans, exclusive insight from executives at Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, Aetna, CIGNA and others on balancing premiums against rising medical costs, and detailed analysis of coverage rescission issues.

Health Plan Strategies for the Individual Market is available from the Healthcare Intelligence Network for $89 by visiting our Online Bookstore or by calling toll-free (888) 446-3530.

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: This information is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information on the business of healthcare. It is distributed with the understanding that Healthcare Intelligence Network is not engaged in rendering legal advice. If legal advice is required, the services of a competent professional should be retained.

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