American Workers Paying More for Health Insurance

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Health insurance is one of the greatest benefits of employment, with employers often sharing the cost of coverage with their employees. More companies are offering the benefit of health insurance to their employees, however, with the economic downturn and the higher cost of claims, many US workers are now paying more for their coverage than in years past.

Health Insurance is a Costly Workplace Benefit

The 2010 Employer Health Benefits Survey released this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust has found that 69% of companies offer their employees health insurance coverage, up from 60% in 2009. However, the average US worker is paying about $482 more this year for family health coverage, which is about 14% more than last year. In 2010, workers paid almost $4,000 a year for family health coverage.

Employees with individual coverage are paying an average of $899 this year, compared to $779 last year.

Read: Health Insurance Premiums Rising Faster than Paychecks

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Annual deductible amounts have increased as well. The report indicates that 27% of employees face deductibles of $1000 or more, compared to 22% of workers a year ago. Workers of smaller companies (3 to 199 employees) are more likely to pay higher deductibles.

According to the report, the total amount of employer contributions for family coverage remains stable, confirming that employers are passing the excess costs of coverage onto their employees. Employers pay an average of $9,773 per employee, down $87 from what they paid last year.

Read: Women's Health Insurance Linked to Education

In response to the poor economy, 30% of employers say they have reduced the scope of health benefits or increased cost sharing.

Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman, Ph.D., said “With the economy struggling, businesses have been shifting more of the costs of health insurance to workers through premiums, deductibles and other cost-sharing. This may be helping to stem the rapid rise in premiums that we saw in the early 2000s, but it also means employer coverage is less comprehensive. From a consumer perspective, the cost of health insurance just keeps going up faster than wages.”

Source Reference:
"Employer Health Benefits 2010 Annual Survey"
2010 Kaiser/HRET Employer Health Benefits Survey (EHBS)
The Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust

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