Employers' health costs still zooming, just not as quickly.
According to the 2007 Employer Health Benefits Survey, sponsored annually by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust, the average annual premium for family coverage under an employer-sponsored policy is $12,106 this year, with a typical worker contribution of $3,281 toward the premium.
For firms with fewer than 200 employees, workers contributed $4,236 on average for family coverage, compared with $2,831 for employees of larger firms. For single coverage, average employee contributions were actually greater at large firms, averaging $759, than at smaller firms, where they averaged $561. In a statement, Kaiser President Drew E. Altman said the amount employees contribute for family policy premiums has increased roughly $1,500 over the past six years.
Health premiums rose an average 6.1%, compared with 7.7% in 2006. It was the fourth consecutive year the survey found a declining rate of increase, and marked the slowest premium growth since the 5.3% increase in 1999.
Kaiser said the 2007 increase more than doubled the 2.6% overall inflation rate and the 3.7% growth in workers' wages. The survey said premiums have risen 78% since 2001, while wages have risen 19% and inflation has grown just 17%.
America's Health Insurance Plans, the trade group for the health insurance industry, saw the moderation trend as a silver lining that demonstrates the industry's focus on containing costs. It cited a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers that said tiered prescription drug formularies are instrumental in controlling drug costs.
According to 2007 statistics compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of Americans covered by employment-based health insurance fell from 60.2% in 2005 to 59.7% in 2006. The number of Americans without health insurance coverage rose to a record 47 million in 2006.
Going Up Average annual firm and worker premium contributions for covered workers for single and family coverage, by plan type, 2007 Worker Contribution Firm Contribution HMO Single $711 $3,588 Family $3,311 $8,568 PPO Single $717 $3,290 Family $3,236 $9,207 POS Single $628 $3,709 Family $3,659 $7,929 HDHP/ Single $522 $3,347 SO Family $2,856 $7,837 ALL Single $694 $3,785 PLANS Family $3,281 $8,824 Note: Table made from bar graph. Cost of Health Care Average annual worker premium contributions and total premiums for covered workers, single and family coverage, by firm size, 2007 All Small Firms All Large Firms (3-199 Workers) (200+ Workers) Single Coverage Premium $4,553 $4,442 Worker Contribution * $561 $759 Family Coverage Premium $11,835 $12,233 Worker Contribution * $4,236 $2,831 * Estimates are statistically different between All Small Firms and All Large Firms (p<.05). Source: Kaiser/HRET Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits, 2007. Note: Table made from bar graph.
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|Date:||Oct 1, 2007|
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