The Kaiser Family Foundation has new confirmation for something benefits brokers and HR managers already know: the cost of employer-sponsored health coverage continues to rise at a faster rate than wage increases and inflation.
Result? Families pay more for employer-sponsored coverage, and generally receive fewer benefits through that coverage.
Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family coverage climbed nearly 4 percent this year to top $16,000 for the first time. The cost of single coverage rose almost 5 percent. Worker wages, meanwhile, climbed nearly 2 percent on average.
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Those wages have climbed about 31 percent since 2003. But the average contribution a worker makes to family health insurance has jumped 89 percent.
KFF teamed up with Health Research & Educational Trust, which actually did the research, to come up with its voluminous 2013 Employer Health Benefits Survey.
While reporting that premiums have increased nearly three times as fast as wages (31 percent) and inflation (27 percent), the surveyors did had a surprisingly optimistic summation of their findings.
“We are in a prolonged period of moderation in premiums, which should create some breathing room for the private sector to try to reduce costs without cutting back benefits for workers,” Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman said.
His counterpart at HRET also found cause to be upbeat: “Ensuring that workers have access to affordable coverage is important for our health care system and slower premium growth is supporting that,” said Maulik Joshi, president of HRET and senior vice president for research at the American Hospital Association.