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Health Insurance Premiums Rise 6.1 Percent in 2007, Less Rapidly Than in Recent Years But Still Faster Than Wages and Inflation
Date:9/11/2007

vides a detailed picture of how employer coverage is changing over time in terms of availability, costs and coverage for the 158 million people nationally who rely on employer-sponsored health insurance. It was conducted between January and May of 2007 and included 3,078 randomly selected, non-federal public and private firms with three or more employees (1,997 of which responded to the full survey and 1,081 of which responded to a single question about offering coverage).

While premiums continue to rise faster than workers' wages, this year's gap of 2.4 percentage points is much smaller than the 10.9 percentage point gap recorded four years ago, when premiums rose 13.9 percent and wages grew just 3 percent.

However, "despite the comparatively low rate of increase in premiums and a strong labor market, the percentage of the workforce obtaining coverage from employer-sponsored plans remained unchanged since 2006," reports the Health Affairs article by Kaiser's Gary Claxton and coauthors. The 60 percent of firms offering health benefits to at least some of their workers is statistically unchanged from last year's offer rate (61 percent). The offer rate remains significantly lower than it was in 2000, when 69 percent of firms offered health benefits. Nearly all (99 percent) large businesses with at least 200 workers offer health benefits to their workers this year, but fewer than half (45 percent) of the smallest firms with three to nine workers do so.

Modest Enrollment in Employer-Sponsored Consumer-Driven Plans

In spite of the extensive attention paid to consumer-driven health plans, the survey finds that these relatively new types of arrangements have made only a small inroad into the employer market. Such plans cover about 5 percent of all covered workers, which is not statistically different from the 4 percent share recorded in 2006.

Overall, an estimated 3.8 million workers are enrolled in consumer-driven plans, about equally di
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SOURCE Kaiser Family Foundation; HRET
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