Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose an average of 4% this year, continuing a decade-long period of moderate growth, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. But the size of deductibles paid by employees has been rising much faster than premiums.
The 2015 Employer Health Benefits Survey found that premiums have risen by an average of 5% annual since 2005, compared to an 11% average annual increase between 1999 and 2005.
The average annual premium for single coverage is $6,251, of which workers on average pay $1,071. The average family premium is $17,545, with workers on average contributing $4,955.
About 81% of covered workers are in plans with an annual deductible, which this year averages $1,318 for single coverage. Deductibles in smaller firms (up to 199 workers) averaged $1,836, or 66% higher than the $1,105 average deductible at larger firms.
Both the share of workers with deductibles and the size of deductibles have increased sharply since 2010, according to Kaiser Foundation data. Together these have resulted in a 67% increase in deductibles since 2010, compared to only a 24% rise in single premiums, and about seven times the rise in workers’ wages (10%) and general inflation (9%) over that period.
The survey was conducted by Kaiser and the Health Research & Educational Trust, an affiliate of the American Hospital Association.
“With deductibles rising so much faster than premiums and wages, it’s no surprise that consumers have not felt the slowdown in health spending,” said Drew Altman, President and CEO of the Kaiser Foundation.
Among employers with 50 or more employees, only 4% said they changed some job classifications from full-time to part-time (less than 30 hours per week) so employees would not be eligible for health benefits, while 10% report changing some job classifications from part-time to full-time to enable workers to obtain coverage. Another 4% said they plan to reduce the number of full-time employees they planned to hire because of the cost of health benefits.
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