Study: Health insurance premiums soar in all 50 states

A new study confirmed a national trend in employer-sponsored coverage -- higher costs for skimpier benefits.

The Washington Post: New Study Shows Health Insurance Premium Spikes In Every State
Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance have risen faster than incomes in every state in the nation, according to a report released Thursday. The analysis of federal data by the Commonwealth Fund, an independent research organization, shed new light on the state-by-state picture while essentially confirming a national trend, highlighted in other recent surveys of employer-sponsored insurance, of greater premiums for skimpier benefits (Aizenman, 11/17).

Bloomberg: Workers' Health Coverage Premiums Climbed 63% In Seven Years, Study Shows
U.S. workers' health insurance premiums rose 63 percent from 2003 to 2010 as employers shifted more of the burden of rising medical costs to individuals and families, a study showed.  The total cost of insuring a family through employer- sponsored health plans rose 50 percent over the same period, reaching an average of $13,871 a year by 2010 (Eisenberg, 11/17).

Politico Pro: Study ACA Can Slow Rising Premium Growth
The study, which collected data from the federal government's annual surveys of employers and the census, examined private employers' premiums and deductibles in all 50 states for people ages 65 and under (Smith, 11/17).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Insurance Premiums Soar In All 50 States
Mississippians fared the worst, with family premiums increasing 70 percent. People in Idaho felt the least pain, on average, with only a 33 percent increase in the same time period. In all states, insurance premiums rose faster than incomes (Gold, 11/16).

Houston Chronicle: Texas Health Premiums Cost More, Buy Less 
The state-by-state report, released Thursday, found that between 2003 and 2010 such premiums in Texas rose 52 percent for families and 46 percent for individuals. In addition, both groups' deductibles more than doubled, regardless of whether the person worked in a small or large firm (Ackerman, 11/16).

Boston Globe: Mass. Falls From Top In Health Care Costs
After holding the unenviable top spot in 2008 and 2009, Massachusetts fell to number nine, behind Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., and four other states. Analysts say it is too soon to tell whether the report reflects a one-year blip in the data or lasting success in controlling the growth of health insurance costs through market changes and government regulation (Conaboy, 11/17).

In other news, Mercer releases a survey regarding employer's health care cost control efforts  -

The New York Times Prescriptions Blog: Employers Step Up Efforts To Curb Health Care Costs
Employers remain concerned about the relentless increase in the cost of providing health coverage for their workers, according to a new survey, and many companies are trying to do more about it. The new health care law has "emboldened employers in taking bolder steps," said Susan Connolly, a partner at Mercer, the benefits consulting firm that conducted the survey, whose findings were released on Wednesday (Abelson, 11/16).

Modern Healthcare: Survey Finds Slower Rise In Benefits Costs
The latest edition of the consultant firm's annual health plan survey showed overall health benefit costs grew by 6.1% in 2011, compared with 6.9% in 2010. Officials forecast a 5.7% rate of increase in 2012 (Selvam, 11/16).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Cost Of Employee Health Benefits Up 6.7%, Mercer Survey Says
Few large employers plan to stop offering health benefits once key provisions in federal health care reform kick in. Health plans that pair high deductibles with savings accounts are becoming more common. The estimates - while well below the double-digit increases early in the last decade - are well above the rate of inflation. They also make clear that health benefits have become a significant part of workers' total compensation (Boulton, 11/16).

And MarketWatch reports on the challenges small businesses face in taking advantage of a feature of the health law.

MarketWatch: Health Care Is A Heavy Weight For Small Businesses
For many small businesses, the path to offering health insurance is strewn with high costs, tough tradeoffs and uncertainty. The health-reform law dangles a tax incentive meant to encourage small companies to offer coverage to their workers by having the federal government pay 35% of employees' premiums, an amount set to rise to 50% in 2014. But some small companies say they can't qualify because of narrow rules (Gerencher, 11/17).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.



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