Wages can’t keep up with Health Insurance Premiums

Wages can’t keep up with Health Insurance PremiumsStartling data has been released regarding health insurance premiums in America. Employees are contributing nearly 6 percent more for health insurance for their families in 2013, which is more than three times the amount of any increases in workers’ wages. When you get down to the basics, workers are spending an average of $4,565 per year for their employer sponsored medical coverage, according to a survey conducted by Kaiser Family Health Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust.

The study shows that for individual coverage the average person pays $999, which is up 5 percent from the previous year. Despite these shocking price jumps for the workers, it is still only a fraction of the cost for the premiums. Employees only pay 28 percent of the total cost of the family insurance and only 17 percent of the cost of single coverage. The total cost of healthcare for both, the portions paid by the employees and the workers, rose at a pace of 4 percent for families while rising in tandem for individuals.

Wages are increasing at a slower pace, only 1.8 percent during the last year. While health insurance premiums are raising faster than the wages, this year’s premium increase was the second lowest since Kaiser/HRET started the health insurance survey in 1999. Just 10 years ago, premium increases of more than 9 percent were commonly seen. According to the experts, the main reason for the slowdown is the weak economy. People try to restrict healthcare spending when the national economy and financial situations are on shaky ground.

Companies are still passing more expense on to the employees when it comes to healthcare. According to the survey, about 78 percent of all employees with health insurance face an annual deductible, which is up from just 72 percent of those polled last year. The average deductible for an individual rose to $1,135, but it was only $826 in 2009. Employers are also trying to control costs through the offering of wellness programs. Studies show 26 percent of larger firms with more than 200 employees and 10 percent of the smaller firms have wellness programs, with the most popular offering flu shots and vaccinations.

Among companies with 50 or more employees, 93 percent offer health benefits. Only 57 percent of smaller firms offer health insurance for employees. Workers at smaller firms also pay more for their coverage than those at bigger employers, even though they contribute less toward their own coverage.

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About the author

Kristin covers health, science and internet news.