employee premium rising cost chart
Kaiser report on employee premiums

113 percent. That is the increase in the average family health care premium since 2001, according to a new report released this week by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Here are some other numbers we plucked from the Employer Health Benefits 2011 Annual Survey:

  • The average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance in 2011 are $5,429 for single coverage and $15,073 for family coverage.
  • Premiums for single coverage are 8 percent higher than in 2010, and premiums for family coverage are 9 percent higher.
  • Since 2001, average premiums for family coverage have increased 113 percent.
  • In firms of 200 or fewer employees, the percentage of workers in a plan with a deductible of $1,000 or more for single coverage has grown to 50 percent today from 16 percent in 2006.

Several outlets took a look at the numbers, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and even the White House.

The data from the Kaiser Family Foundation adds to a slew of recent reporting and data about the burden of health care costs on families.

California’s Center for Health reporting recently did a series on the health care debt amassed by individuals and hospitals. In one piece that focused on patients, the Center showed how medical debt can spin out of control:

“Because of the recession and unemployment certainly there are those that are having more medical debt and then using what they feel are the options to cover those debts” explained Rob Quinlan, a debt counselor with the nonprofit ClearPoint Financial Solutions. People put off bill payments to pay food and rent, or turn to credit cards and payday loans to cover medical expenses, digging ever deeper into the red.

“Once you have medical debt that is ongoing it can be a domino effect,” Quinlan said.

Millions of Americans already face these choices, and the number is growing. A study by the Commonwealth Fund last year found that:

  • The number of under-insured adults rose by 80 percent between 2003 and 2010, from 16 million to 29 million.
  • About 44 percent of adults, or 81 million people, were either under-insured or uninsured in 2010, up from 75 million in 2007 and 61 million in 2003.

Health care has been an issue for years, but time and again, research is telling us the situation is shifting fast–and in the wrong direction.

One health-care analyst, Merrill Goozner, has this thought: “The private insurance industry is covering fewer people and facing just a 4 percent increase in costs. Yet it is raising premiums 9 percent. No wonder profits are rising smartly.”

Thoughts? Feedback? Drop us a line at info [at] clearhealthcosts [dot] com.