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Annual Kaiser Report on Health Insurance

By August 27, 2013Commentary

About 150 million people are covered by employer-based health insurance.  A regular Kaiser survey examines trends in that coverage.   (KFF Report)   In 2013, average premiums from single coverage rose about 5%, to $5884, and for families, 4% to $16351.  It is important to realize that these increases would be larger, but the benefits provided in the policies also have decreased in value.  These premiums are not only rising faster than GDP growth or inflation, they are also outpacing worker compensation gains of about 1.8%.  Employees are contributing on average 18% of premium for single coverage and 29% for family.  Unfortunately, lower wage employees tend to contribute more.  Over three-fourths of workers are now in a plan with an annual deductible and deductibles in small firms are almost twice as high as those in large companies.  Most workers also have office visit copays and about 20% are in a plan that uses coinsurance for these services.  About 80% of workers are in tiered prescription benefit plans, with relatively large copays on higher tier drugs.   PPO plans are the most common, covering about 57% of employees, with HMOs enrolling 14% and high-deductible plans with a savings account around 20%.  Only about 57% of all employers offer health benefits, but almost all larger employers do so, and 90% of the working population has access to a health benefit plan.  About 77% of workers at companies offering health insurance are eligible–expect that number to drop as more employees are classified as part-time as a result of the reform law.  Retiree coverage exists largely only at the bigger companies.  Wellness remains very popular with employers and use of incentives or penalties for participation is growing.  Retail clinics are covered by 56% of employers and 17% of these companies give an incentive for using these sites.  While use is currently small, many larger employers are exploring private exchanges.

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