HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Costs Are Being Shifted Onto Workers For Family Coverage

The amount that workers are paying toward the cost of family health coverage increased this year by 14 percent, or $482, according to the benchmark 2010 Employer Health Benefits Survey released September 3 by the Kaiser Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET). This means that workers are paying on average nearly $4,000 per year for family health coverage. Selected findings were published September 3 as a Health Affairs Web First article.

The jump occurred even though the total premiums for family coverage, including what employers themselves contribute, rose a modest 3 percent to $13,770 on average in 2010. The amount employers contribute for family coverage did not increase.

Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) continue to dominate the employer market, enrolling 58 percent of covered workers. Average PPO family premiums topped $14,000 annually in 2010.

Since 2005, workers' contributions to premiums have gone up 47 percent, while overall premiums rose 27 percent, wages increased 18 percent, and inflation rose 12 percent. Many employers are also raising the annual deductibles workers must pay before their health plans begin to share most health care costs. A total of 27 percent of covered workers now face annual deductibles of at least $1,000, up from 22 percent in 2009, the survey finds. Among small firms (3-199 workers), 46 percent face such deductibles.

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