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Employer Insurance Costs Rising for Workers
Date:12/2/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Although premiums for employer health insurance have risen 41 percent since 2003, new research says that employees are getting less bang for their buck.

In addition, individual deductibles have skyrocketed 77 percent, according to the report from The Commonwealth Fund.

"Health insurance has become increasingly unaffordable for families during the years before enactment of the Affordable Care Act," Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

"During that time, benefits were scaled back as employers and workers struggled to keep up in a difficult economy," she said. "The new law provides us with the opportunity to reverse these unsustainable increases and ensure that families in every state have access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance."

The report says that if costs continue to rise at the same pace as they did from 2003 to 2009, annual premiums shared by employers and employees would increase 79 percent, costing an average family $23,342 by 2020.

However, if health care reform can slow increases by 1 percent, family premiums would be $2,323 lower by 2020. Slowing premium growth by 1.5 percent would mean $3,403 in savings, according to the report.

The increases in premiums from 2003 to 2009 varied from state to state, ranging from a 21 percent increase in Delaware to a 59 percent increase in Louisiana.

In 2009, insurance premiums were highest in Alaska, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming, with family premiums of more than $14,000 a year.

The states with the lowest premiums included: Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Utah, which ranged from $11,000 to $12,000 a year in 2009, the report found.

Deductibles rose in almost all states during the same period, increas
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