Kaiser Family Foundation HRET Annual Survey of Employer Health Insurance

Today’s Managing Health Care Costs Indicator is $13,770

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The annual Kaiser Family Foundation –HRET survey of employer benefits came out on Thursday, and it showed that the increase in cost of health care coverage was smaller than in most recent years (up 5% for family coverage, and 3% for individual coverage).  However, employees are paying a significantly larger share of the total cost of coverage, and the health plans have higher deductibles and more patient cost-sharing than in past years. . 

Overall, families pay for 30% of the total health care premium (up from 27% last year). That means that last year, a family on average would have paid $3552, and this year they would pay $3997, a 13% increase.   It’s worse still for low wage families, which were responsible for 35% of the family premium.   Family premiums are also more for workers at small employers (<200 workers) -- $14,038. 

Even as they increase in price, health plans are also shaving benefits.  27% of single workers have a deductible of over $1000 in 2010, compared to 22% in 2009 and 10% in 2006.   High deductible health plans have increased their market penetration (13% compared to 8% in 2009). 

About the only surprising finding is that a larger portion of insurers are offering health insurance – from 60% to 69%.    The denominator here is the individual employer –and this increase in health care offering was driven by employers with 3-9 employees, so it doesn’t mean that the overall rate of insured workers went up.  In fact, 59% of workers received insurance coverage from their jobs in 2009 and 2010.

The KFF-HRET survey makes it clear that health care is just too expensive.  The inflation rate of health plans appears to have moderated.  But there is little good news for workers,  who paid an increased portion of the premium for health plans that offer fewer benefits than in previous years.