NU Online News Service, April 8, 2004, 3:49 p.m. EDT – U.S. workers’ health premium costs are going up faster than the national medical care inflation rate.[@@]

The average monthly premium contribution for private-sector workers increased about 75% between 1992-1993 and March 2003, to $60 for single coverage and $228 for family coverage, Cathy Baker, an economist at the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, writes in a new paper on medical plan cost sharing.

Urban medical care prices rose 41% over the same period, according to BLS price data.

The share of insured private-sector workers who have to pay a deductible increased to 78%, from 54%, for single coverage and to 90%, from 74%, for family coverage.

The BLS has not yet released data about March 2003 deductible levels, but the average private-sector deductible for individual coverage increased 53% between 1992-1993 and 2000, to $334, Baker writes.

The BLS is getting ready to publish detailed tables based on 2002 and 2003 surveys of private-sector health plans later this year, Baker says.