Economy

Premiums for employer-sponsored insurance increase slightly for sixth straight year

Premiums for employer-sponsored insurance increase slightly for sixth straight year”

Only half of America's smallest businesses now offer health coverage to their workers because many say steady cost hikes have made it too expensive to afford a benefit almost all large employers still provide.

Premiums increased by an average of 3%, to an average of $18,764 this year, according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation, Health Research and Education Trust and Health Affairs.

KFF found that small-business workers contribute $1,550 more on average toward their family health coverage than their counterparts at large companies, with the gap partially the result of small firms being three times more likely to contribute the same dollar amount toward a worker's health benefits whether or not they enroll family members.

Small businesses offering health insurance has dropped from 59% in 2012 to 50% in 2017.

Premiums for employer-sponsored insurance have edged up for the sixth straight year, according to a new report. From 2007 to 2012, premiums had increased 30 percent. The 19% average family premium increase over the last five years is almost equal to one year of ACA increases. Employees at smaller companies had an average deductible of $2,120, compared with $1,276 at larger firms. Forty-four percent of these small firms say they don't offer coverage because of high costs, while 17 percent responded that they are too small. While there are more small employers than large ones, significantly more covered employees work at large firms (71% versus 29%). Only 16% of those businesses provide money to employees to purchase health insurance on their own in the individual market or through the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Plus, although premium rates aren't skyrocketing, employees are paying more out-of-pocket costs and facing higher deductibles. It also requires hospitals to chase down individuals rather than working with payers, which is more administrative work for hospitals.



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