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Employer health insurance premiums increased 50 percent in every state from 2003 to 2010
Date:11/17/2011

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Future Trends

The report's authors say that if the historic rate of increase between 2003 and 2010before enactment of the Affordable Care Actwere to continue, the average premium for family health insurance coverage would increase 72 percent by 2020, reaching nearly $24,000 a year.

Slowing the rate of growth even modestly would make a significant difference for individuals, families, and businesses. Compared to historical trends, reducing the annual growth in premiums by even one percentage point would lead to $2,161 in annual premium cost savings for families by 2020. Slowing the rate of growth by 1.5 percent a year would yield savings of $3,173.

The authors note that the Affordable Care Act includes a range of insurance market reforms aimed at lowering premium growth, improving health benefits, and ensuring near-universal coverage. These include a set of affordable insurance options available through new state insurance exchanges, rules limiting insurance administrative costs and profits as a share of premiums, and review of excessive insurance premium increases. In addition, the law contains payment and health care system reforms that seek to slow the growth in costs. The authors point to the urgent need to spread reforms to private as well as public insurance.

Moving forward, the report authors conclude that lowering health care premium growth will require a significant focus on reforming how health care is paid for in the private sector, as well as in public programs like Medicare and Medicaid. In order to improve quality of care while slowing costs, wasteful overhead spending must be lowered and innovative ways of paying for care tested and spread broadly to maximize their impact.

"The combination of rapidly rising costs and stagnant incomes is putting families in an untenable situation," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "New rules for insurers, along with new models of health ca
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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