The price of medical coverage has been on a rapid climb throughout the last decade.
A new national business survey has released its results this week, and it has shown that the cost of family health insurance through workplace plans has increased another 4 percent this year, while wages rose by only 1.7 percent.
The survey was conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust.
The gap between the coverage sponsored by employers, and the salaries paid to the employees is considered even more significant when the trend over the last decade is examined. The survey showed that since 2002, there has been an increase in group health insurance premiums by 97 percent, but that wages have risen by only 33 percent. This is worsened by the fact that the inflation rate over that time was 38 percent.
This year’s health insurance premiums increase nearly doubled the inflation rate of 2.3 percent since 2011.
The annual price of health insurance coverage for a family was an average of $15,745 in 2012, with employees covering about $4,316 of those premiums, said the report. For the coverage that was for only the employee and not a family, there was an annual spending by employers of $5,615 per year, which is an increase of 3 percent. Those workers contributed $951 to the costs.
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According to the Kaiser Family Foundation president and CEO, Drew Altman, the increase in this year’s family health insurance premiums was “moderate”. He also pointed out that it was notably lower than the rise of 9 percent that was experienced in 2011.
Altman explained that “In terms of employee insurance costs, this year’s 4% increase qualifies as a good year, but it still takes a growing bite out of middle-class workers’ wages, which have been flat or falling in real terms.”
He also stated that those in the lower earning brackets were typically the ones who were paying more for their health insurance coverage. The survey indicated that working families in the lowest end of the wage scale were the ones that had the most out of pocket costs for their medical coverage.