Survey: Premium Costs Increase Slightly But Wages Don't Keep Pace

A Kaiser Family Foundation survey concluded that, for the second year in a row, employer-provided insurance costs went up only moderately in 2012. But employee wages still didn't keep pace.

The New York Times: Health Care Costs Climb Moderately, Survey Says
Premiums for employer-provided health insurance have increased by relatively modest amounts this year, according to a new survey, a further sign that once-torrid health care inflation has abated for now (Pollack, 8/20).

Los Angeles Times: Costs Rise For Employer-Provided Health Benefits, Survey Finds
American workers and their employers saw another rise in health insurance premiums this year, as the total cost of employer-provided health benefits ticked up 4% for family plans and 5% for individual plans, according to a closely watched national survey (Levey and Villeneuve, 8/20).

Kaiser Health News: Family Insurance Premiums Rise 4 Percent For 2nd Year In Row, Survey Finds
For the second year in a row, health insurance premiums for job-based family coverage rose a relatively modest 4 percent, reflecting slowed health spending. Nonetheless, workers are likely to feel an increased pinch from health care costs: More than a third have annual deductibles of at least $1,000 this year before their insurance kicks in, while wages continue to grow far more slowly than health insurance costs (Appleby, 8/20).

The Wall Street Journal: Employer Health Coverage Premiums Rise Slowly Again This Year
The increase, to an annual total of $16,351 from $15,745 in 2012, represented the same rate of growth as last year, which likely reflects employees' continued tendency to limit their use of medical care, said Gary Claxton, vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation. The nonprofit performed the annual poll of employers along with the Health Research & Educational Trust, a nonprofit affiliated with the American Hospital Association (Mathews, 8/20).

The Associated Press: Survey: Health Insurance Costs Rise Modestly But Outpace Wage Gains
Coverage costs still are climbing faster than wages. That means, in many cases, a bigger portion of the average paycheck is sliced off for insurance instead of being deposited into employee bank accounts (Murphy, 8/20).

Pioneer Press: Health Insurance Costs Outpace Wage Gains, Survey Finds
Health insurance premiums continue to grow at a moderate pace, but to most people, it doesn't feel that way. The continued tension between wage growth and health care costs was highlighted in an annual survey (Snowbeck, 8/20).

The Hill: Survey: Coverage, Premiums Holding Steady For Employer Health Plans
The survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation pours cold water on some criticisms of ObamaCare, namely that it is already causing costs to skyrocket and employers to stop offering healthcare coverage (Baker, 8/20).

Georgia Health News: Premiums For Employers Plans Show Modest Increase
But employees may not be feeling that moderation. That’s because their part of the premium has been rising faster than their wages and the general inflation rate over the past decade. Out-of-pocket costs have increased significantly as well. “The pain factor for health insurance cost has not disappeared,” said Altman. “Over time, what people pay for health care has dramatically eclipsed both their wages and inflation" (Miller, 8/20).

CT Mirror: Stable Year For Employer Health Benefit Costs, But Dramatic Changes Could Be Coming
Some experts expect smaller employers to consider dropping coverage and letting their workers buy insurance in the new marketplaces, while larger employers might consider changing the way they handle benefits to give workers more choices and financial responsibility (Becker, 8/20).

CNN: Health Insurance Premiums Rise Faster Than Wages
Still, workers pay only a fraction of the overall cost. They shell out only 28% of the total price for family insurance, while their employer foots the rest of the bill. Individuals pay an even smaller share -- 17% for single coverage (Luhby, 8/20).

Dallas Morning News: Health Insurance Cost Growth Slows, But Many Pay More For Care Than For Food
Health insurance premiums are up at less than the double-digit pace of a decade ago, but that’s not likely to cheer consumers who are devoting more of their income to medical care. Health care analysts at the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust said Tuesday that the average family policy cost $16,351 this year, with workers paying $4,565 of that and employers paying the rest (Landers, 8/20).

Medpage Today: Employers Not Deserting Health Benefit Arena
The percentage of employers offering health insurance to their workers fell only slightly this year compared with last year, according to a large survey released Tuesday. The survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust found that 57 percent of firms offered health benefits in 2013 -- statistically unchanged from 61 percent last year and 60 percent in 2011. The overall drop came mostly from the smallest firms (Pittman, 8/20).

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