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Cost of U.S. Workers' Health Premiums Surged in 2011
Date:9/27/2011

ncluding 28 percent with deductibles topping $2,000.

This trend reflects a rise in high-deductible, consumer-driven plans over the past two years that contain tax-preferred savings options such as a Health Savings Account. As more firms offered these plans, the share of covered workers enrolled in them doubled, from 8 percent in 2009 to 17 percent in 2011, the survey revealed.

Moreover, recent health reform has resulted in 56 percent of covered workers being insured under "grandfathered" plans, which are exempt from some health reform requirements, such as having an external appeals process.

Among the other findings from the Kaiser Family Foundation study:

  • Premiums for worker-only health coverage increased 8 percent in 2011 to $5,429 annually. Workers pay an average of $921 toward this coverage.
  • The share of companies offering health insurance to their workers is 60 percent this year, virtually unchanged from 2009.
  • Covered workers pay an average of $22 in co-pays for primary care and $32 in co-pays for specialty care for in-network physicians.
  • Covered workers with three- and four-tier drug plans have average co-payments of $10 for generic drugs, $29 for preferred brand-name drugs, $49 for non-preferred brand-name drugs, and $91 for specialty drugs.
  • About 26 percent of large companies (200 or more employees) offer retiree health benefits in 2011, unchanged from last year and down significantly from 32 percent in 2007.

These findings, which reflect early provisions in health reform, will "provide valuable insight for employers, providers, consumers and policymakers as they prepare for additional provisions to take effect by 2014," Maulik Joshi, senior vice president for research at the American Hospital Association, said in the news release.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health provides more information on

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