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Analysis

Annual Family Premiums for Employer Plans Now Top $20K

By John Commins  
   September 25, 2019

Average deductibles now at $1,655, double the average of a decade ago.

Even in a strong economy, cost growth for employer-sponsored health insurance continues to easily outstrip wage growth and inflation in the overall economy, survey results released today show.

Yearly family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose 5% to average $20,576 in 2019, the 2019 benchmark Kaiser Family Foundation Employer Health Benefits Survey reported.

Employers' and workers' costs for premiums continue to rise faster than wages (3.4%) and was more than double the rate of inflation (2%) in the overall economy over the same period, the survey of more than 2,000 small and large businesses found.

"The single biggest issue in health care for most Americans is that their health costs are growing much faster than their wages are," KFF President and CEO Drew Altman said in a media release.

"Costs are prohibitive when workers making $25,000 a year have to shell out $7,000 a year just for their share of family premiums," Altman said.

On average, workers are contributing $6,015 toward the cost of family coverage for the 153 million Americans who receive health insurance through an employer-based plan. Employers paid the bulk of the costs, KFF found.

Since 2009, average family premiums have increased 54% and workers’ contribution have increased 71%, several times faster than wages (26%) and inflation (20%), KFF reported.

The survey also found that:

  • 82% of covered workers have a deductible in their plan, similar to last year and up from 63% a decade ago.

  • The average single deductible now stands at $1,655 for workers who have one, similar to last year’s $1,573 average but up sharply from the $826 average of a decade ago.

  • These two trends result in a 162% total increase in the burden of deductibles across all covered workers over the past decade.

  • 28% of all covered workers, including 45% of those at small employers with fewer than 200 employees, are now in plans with a deductible of at least $2,000, almost four times the share who faced such deductibles in 2009.
     
  • 13% of workers now face deductibles of at least $3,000.
     
  • Workers at lower-wage employers are nearly half as likely as other workers to be covered by their employer.

“Costs are prohibitive when workers making $25,000 a year have to shell out $7,000 a year just for their share of family premiums.”

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

Since 2009, average family premiums have increased 54% and workers’ contribution have increased 71%, several times faster than wages (26%) and inflation (20%).

13% of workers now face deductibles of at least $3,000.

Workers at lower-wage employers are nearly half as likely as other workers to be covered by their employer.


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