Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose to an average of $13,375 annually for family coverage this year, with employees on average paying $3,515 and employers paying $9,860, according to a new survey.
The benchmark 2009 Employer Health Benefits Survey, released by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust, found that family premiums rose about 5 percent in 2009. That’s more than general inflation, which fell 0.7 percent, and workers’ wages, rising 3.1 percent, during the same period.
Since 1999, premiums have gone up 131 percent. That’s far more than than workers’ wages, up 38 percent, or inflation, up 28 percent, over the same time period.
The survey found that 60 percent of firms offered health benefits to workers in 2009, but the smaller the firm, the less likely it is to offer health benefits. It found just 46 percent of the smallest employers, who have three to nine workers, offer health benefits.
Among those firms offering benefits, 21 percent report they reduced the scope of health benefits or increased cost sharing due to the economic downturn, and 15 percent report they increased the worker’s share of the premium.
The survey further reveals that a growing number of workers who are covered by their employer are facing high deductibles in their plans in addition to contributing to the premiums for their coverage.
In 2009, 22 percent of covered workers must pay at least $1,000 out of pocket annually for single coverage before their plan will pay a share of their health care bills, up from 18 percent last year.
Now in its 11th year, the survey is a joint project of the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association.
It was conducted between January and May and included 3,188 randomly selected, non-federal public and private firms with three or more employees.