Health plan premiums soar faster than income

Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance have skyrocketed 41 percent between 2003 and 2009, according to a new report by the Commonwealth Fund. That increase is three times higher than that of median wages.

Health plan premiums increased the most in Louisiana, which saw a 59 percent jump. Delaware saw the lowest increase of 21 percent.

The report warned that at the current rate of increase, it would cost more than $23,000 per year to insurer a family of four by 2020.
Deductible costs have zoomed even higher, up 77 percent. Enrollees are also more likely to face deductibles, as 74 percent of enrollees have them now vs. just 52 percent in 2003.

"Whether you live in Montana, Texas, or New York, private insurance costs have been increasing faster than working family incomes," said the study's lead author, Commonwealth Fund Senior Vice President Cathy Schoen. "For more than a decade, families with job-based insurance have been sacrificing wages to hold on to health insurance."

Schoen added that healthcare reform does provide an opportunity to slow healthcare cost growth in the future. Were historic premium growth slowed by one percentage point, that would result in more than $2,300 in premium savings by 2020; a 1.5 percent growth reduction would net premium savings of more than $3,400.

For more:
- read the Commonwealth Fund press release
- read the Wichita Business Journal article