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Yearly Premiums for Family Health Coverage Rise to $12,680 in 2008, Up 5 Percent, As Many Workers Also Face Higher Deductibles
Date:9/24/2008

Arrangement (HRA) -- has increased to 8 percent today from 5 percent last year and 4 percent in 2006. An estimated 5.5 million covered workers are enrolled in these plans, including about 3.2 million in plans that would allow the worker to establish an HSA and 2.2 million in plans with an HRA established by the employer.

The growth in consumer-directed plans occurred mostly among workers at small firms (three to 199 workers), where 13 percent are now in this type of plan, compared with 8 percent in 2007. In firms with at least 200 employees, 5 percent of workers are enrolled in such plans -- statistically unchanged from last year. By definition, these plans all have high deductibles -- with the average general annual deductible for single coverage at $2,010 for HSA-qualified plans and $1,552 for HRAs.

Premiums for consumer-directed plans are generally lower than for other types of plans, though in addition to the premiums, employers may also contribute money to the savings accounts. On average, firms pay a total of $8,291 annually toward the cost of family coverage for an HSA-qualified plan, including a $1,522 contribution to the account. In comparison, firms on average contribute $9,495 toward the cost of family coverage in non-consumer-directed plans.

Among firms offering such consumer-directed plans, six in 10 say that the primary reason is cost -- and more than four in 10 say that in their opinion the most successful result has been lower costs. About four in 10 employers say that communicating with and educating their workers about the change was their greatest challenge in adopting consumer-directed plans.

Small Businesses and Their Workers Face Challenges

As in the past, smaller businesses are significantly less likely than larger ones to offer health insurance. While virtually all large firms (200 or more workers) offer health benefits to their workers, only 62 percent of smaller firms do so. Just under half (49 percent) o
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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Foundation
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