Health ins. premiums for family $15,745

Sept. 16, 2012 at 2:07 AM
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MENLO PARK, Calif., Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Annual premiums for U.S. employer-sponsored family health coverage averaged $15,745 this year, up 4 percent from last year, a survey indicates.

The Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust Employer Health Benefits Survey found employees, on average, paid $4,316 toward the cost of their coverage. However, premiums for worker-only health coverage increased 3 percent in 2012 to $5,615 annually. Workers paid, on average, paid $951 toward this coverage, the survey said.

Since 2002, health insurance premiums increased 97 percent, three times as fast as wages at 33 percent and even more than inflation at 28 percent.

"Premium growth is at historic lows, which greatly benefits workers," Maulik Joshi, president of Health Research & Educational Trust and the American Hospital Association, said in a statement.

Workers at lower-wage firms on average pay $1,000 more each year out-of-their paychecks for family coverage than workers at higher-wage firms -- $4,977 and $3,968, respectively. This occurs even though firms with many lower-wage workers on average pay less in total premiums for family coverage than firms with many higher-wage workers -- $14,694 and $16,427, respectively.

In addition, workers at lower-wage firms are also more likely to face high deductibles than those at higher-wage firms. Forty-four percent of covered workers at firms with many low-wage workers face an annual deductible of $1,000 or more, compared with 29 percent of those at firms with many high-wage workers, the survey found. Across all employers, one-third of covered workers had a deductible of $1,000 or more, with 14 percent with deductibles of at least $2,000 annually.

The survey included 3,326 randomly selected public and private firms with three or more employees.

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