A Commonwealth Fund report released on December 12 found that private health insurance premiums are rising significantly faster than income for low- and middle-income families. The authors studied employer-sponsored insurance cost trends from 2003 to 2011. According to the report, over that eight-year period, average total premiums rose 62 percent across the nation, from $9,249 to $15,022 per year, and the average employee premium contribution for a family plan increased 74 percent, from $2,283 to $3,962. In addition, the average deductibles for large and small firms more than doubled in that same time period, showing a per -person deductible increase of 117 percent. The study’s authors said that as a result of a slow growth in income and a rapid rise in health insurance costs, 80 percent of Americans live in states where total health insurance premiums are equal to or exceed 20 percent of median income. The report’s lead author, Cathy Schoen, senior vice president for policy, research and evaluation, said that if this trend continues, the cost of an average family plan is expected to cost as much $25,000 by 2020. The authors note that reforms under the Affordable Care Act are expected to help moderate health insurance costs and improve coverage. The report, “State Trends in Premiums and Deductibles, 2003-2011: Eroding Protection and Rising Costs Underscore Need for Action” is available here.
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Commonwealth Fund finds health insurance premiums and deductibles rising at an historical rate
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