At Work

Rising health care costs

Keep in mind as you read this, for the most part we are not talking about insurance. Large employers don’t use insurance. They are self-insured. The problem we face is and always has been the cost of care and what and how we use health care services

New Analysis of Large Employer Health Coverage: The Cost to Families for Health Coverage and Care Has Risen More Than 2X Faster Than Wages and 3X Faster Than Inflation Over the Last Decade 

A new KFF analysis that looked at both premiums and other out-of-pocket costs shows that families with coverage through a large employer paid 67 percent more for their health benefits and care in 2018 than a decade earlier.  

In 2018, a typical family of four with large employer coverage spent $4,706 on their share of health premiums and $3,020 on cost sharing (such as deductibles, copayments and coinsurance) for a combined cost to the family of $7,726, the analysis finds. That was up from $2,838 in premiums and $1,779 in cost sharing in 2008, for a combined cost to the family of $4,617 a decade ago.

The rise in health costs borne directly by families outstripped the growth in wages (31%) and inflation (21%) over the 10-year period, according to the analysis. Over the same ten-year period, employers’ contributions toward their workers’ health insurance premiums increased 51 percent (from $10,008 to $15,159).  

The total cost of covering a family with large employer health insurance was $22,885 in 2018, up 56 percent from $14,625 in 2008.

Researchers analyzed a sample of health benefit claims from the IBM MarketScan Commercial Claims and Encounters database, as well as KFF’s 2018 Employer Health Benefits Survey, to examine trends in actual employee spending on premiums, deductibles, copayments and coinsurance over time. The analysis is part of the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker, an online information hub dedicated to monitoring and assessing the performance of the U.S. health system.

Note: The 2019 KFF Employer Health Benefits Survey that tracks changes in employer health benefits and costs will be released this fall.

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Categories: At Work, Healthcare

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