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

ing an average of 77 percent. In addition, more workers are paying deductibles. In 2009, 74 percent paid deductibles, compared with 52 percent in 2003, according to the report.

Health insurance premiums have been going up three times faster than average incomes. By 2009, total premiums equaled or exceeded 18 percent of household income for workers in 26 states, which is up from three states in 2003.

No state's premiums were less than 14 percent of income in 2009, the report found.

These increases hit families in the South-central and Southern states the hardest, where premiums are high and incomes generally lower than the national average, the report said.

"For many, health insurance has simply become unaffordable," report author and Commonwealth Fund Vice President Cathy Schoen said during the press conference.

The report said many of these problems may be alleviated by provisions of the Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in March, since:

  • Restrictions on administrative costs will direct more premium dollars to medical care.
  • States have the authority to review and question unreasonable premium increases.
  • States can exclude insurers from the health insurance exchanges if they have a pattern of unreasonable premium increases.
  • Beginning in 2014, health insurance exchanges will help assure employees and small employers that insurance plans include benefits and protection against high medical bills.
  • Starting in 2014, more affordable health insurance plans will be available to low- and moderate-income families and include federal premium credits to help buy insurance and expand Medicaid coverage to low-wage workers and their families.
  • System reforms will provide dollar incentives to doctors and health systems to give better care and reduce waste and duplication.

The new report, released Thursday, is titled State Trends in Premiums and Deduct
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