Premiums of Health Insurance Continue To Grow

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Enrollment in Consumer-Directed Health Plans Remains Modest At 2.7 Million; Relatively Few Employers Expect To Adopt Such Plans Next Year

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Premiums for employer-sponsored health coverage rose an average 7.7 percent in 2006, less than the 9.2 percent increase recorded in 2005 and the recent peak of 13.9 percent in 2003, according to the 2006 Employer Health Benefits Survey released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET). Key findings from the survey were also published today as a Health Affairs Web Exclusive.

This year's survey recorded the slowest rate of premium growth since 2000, though premiums still increased more than twice as fast as workers' wages (3.8 percent) and overall inflation (3.5 percent). Premiums have increased 87 percent over the past six years. Family health coverage now costs an average $11,480 annually, with workers paying an average of $2,973 toward those premiums, about $1,354 more than in 2000.

"While premiums didn't rise as fast as they have in recent years, working people don't feel like they are getting any relief at all because their premiums have been rising so much faster than their paychecks," said Foundation President and CEO Drew E. Altman, Ph.D. "To working people and business owners a reduction in an already very high rate of increase just means you are

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