Survey finds that deductibles for employer-sponsored coverage have grown aggressively
A new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust has found that health insurance deductibles have risen dramatically since 2010. These deductible increases have primarily affected those with employer-sponsored coverage. Many employers have been facing greater financial strain in providing their workers with insurance coverage, especially as insurers make their plans more expensive. As a result, consumers have been facing higher out-of-pocket costs for their coverage even as premiums have continued to grow.
Workers are spending more on out-of-pocket costs
The survey found that health insurance deductibles for employer-sponsored coverage rose by 67% since 2010. This has far outpaced the rate at which workers’ wages has been growing. As such, consumers with employer-sponsored coverage have been experiencing greater financial stress. This has also forced some consumers to forgo employer-sponsored coverage in favor of health insurance plans provided through state exchanges or in the private market. Employers with large and small group coverage may need to find ways to make their plans more attractive to their workers, and lowering deductibles may be the best way to do this.
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Premiums have been relatively stable due to high deductibles
Deductibles are not the only thing on the rise, of course. The survey found that that premiums for employer-sponsored coverage have also been growing. Premiums for this coverage rose by 4% this year, staying close to the average 5% increase that has been reported since 2005. Deductibles may be the greatest financial strain for those with employer-sponsored coverage, however, as 81% of workers have an annual deductible they must pay before their insurance covers medical care. The average deductible in 2015 was $1,318.
Trend of higher deductibles may not continue as economy improves
The trend of growing deductibles may not last forever, of course, but higher deductibles have kept premium increases quite stable. Higher deductibles may have been a result of the economic recession, which placed employers in a precarious position when it came to balancing their workforce and their offering of health insurance plans.