Study: Cost of Employer-Sponsored Healthcare Snatches More of the Family Purse

Friday, 14 Dec 2012 07:54 AM

By John Morgan

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Growth in the price of commercial health insurance is outstripping Americans’ incomes by a wide margin, rising five times faster than family incomes since 2003 even as benefits are shrinking, according to a new study from The Commonwealth Fund.

The private foundation, which has studied U.S. health policy and coverage since 1918, said the average premium for employer-sponsored family health insurance was $15,022.

Meanwhile, deductibles have more than doubled, up 117 percent between 2003 and 2011.

Editor's Note: The Final Turning Predicted for America. See Proof.

“Wherever you live in the United States, health insurance is expensive, and for many middle- as well as low-income families it is becoming ever less affordable,” said Cathy Schoen, senior vice president at The Commonwealth Fund and lead author of the report.

“Workers are paying more for less financial protection when they get sick.”

Few Americans appear to be unscathed by the escalating growth in health costs.

The Commonwealth Fund said total health insurance premiums now amount to 20 percent or more of annual median family incomes in 35 states, affecting 80 percent of the U.S. working age population.

If historical trends continue, family premiums will jump to $24,740 by 2020. The analysis showed that reducing the growth rate even modestly would make a significant difference for businesses and families.

The Commonwealth Fund said Obamacare is intended to put pressure on private insurance plans to “lower their overhead,” but that “more will be need to be done to confront the forces driving up the cost of care in private insurance markets.”

Karen Davis, president of The Commonwealth Fund, said, “As we implement the law’s reforms, it will be crucial to stabilize cost growth by holding care systems and private insurers accountable for better outcomes and lower costs.”

The Institute of Medicine found earlier this year that the U.S. health care system wasted $750 billion in 2009, about 30 percent of all health spending, on unnecessary services, fraud, excessive administrative costs and other problems, NBC News reported.

Michael Ramlet, a health economist at the American Action Forum, predicted Americans’ health expenses will continue to increase as Obamacare is implemented. He predicted new federal requirements will force companies to exit their employer-sponsored insurance plans.

“Honestly I don’t think employers are going to stay in the insurance game for very long,” Ramlet told NBC News.

Earlier this week, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans said more than 85 percent of employers surveyed said they plan to keep offering health insurance to workers.

Editor's Note: The Final Turning Predicted for America. See Proof.

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