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Health Premiums for Businesses, Employees Rose 41% from 2003-09


Posted on 03 Dec 2010

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Analysis by the Commonwealth Fund finds that premiums for businesses and their employees increased 41 percent across states from 2003 to 2009, while per-person deductibles jumped 77 percent in large as well as small firms.

According to the analysis, if these trends continue at the rate prior to enactment of the Affordable Care Act, the average premium for family coverage will rise 79 percent by 2020, to more than $23,000.

Employers say the relentless rise in U.S. healthcare costs is forcing them to shift more of the financial burden for coverage to employees or abandon benefits altogether. Companies typically cover about three-quarters of the cost of premiums and require workers to pay the rest. Businesses say that continuing to contribute at such levels threatens their viability.

"This is a continuation of an absolutely unsustainable trend that has been going on for years," said John Arensmeyer, chief executive of the Small Business Majority, a national small business advocacy group headquartered in Northern California.

"Until the rate of increase starts to bend downward, you're going to see businesses continue to drop insurance," Arensmeyer added.

The report underscored the pressure on businesses and their workers, citing huge increases in the deductibles paid by individuals and families for medical care.

About The Commonwealth Fund

The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation that aims to promote a high performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society's most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults.

The Fund carries out this mandate by supporting independent research on health care issues and making grants to improve health care practice and policy. An international program in health policy is designed to stimulate innovative policies and practices in the United States and other industrialized countries.


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