Study: Health premiums up 95 percent since 2000

Here's a new health expense number that has a certain horror-movie quality, even to those of us who have followed the business for decades. According to a new study nonprofit advocacy group Families USA, the cost to families for health premiums have gone up 95.2 percent since 2000, often to pay for fewer benefits, higher co-pays and higher deductible-plans. Meanwhile, median family income has gone up only 17.5 percent.

Not surprisingly, given that employers are bearing some of these alarming cost increases, the number of employers offering health coverage at all fell during the same period, down to 63 percent in 2008 from 69 percent in 2000.

Families USA blames the monstrous price increases on rising costs for, and higher use of, medical treatments; a lack of health plan oversight; little competition among insurers in some markets; and cost-shifting from uninsured to insured patients.

To get more data from the study:
- read this piece from the Philadelphia Inquirer