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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

f the smallest firms (three to nine workers) offer health benefits. Among all small firms (three to 199 workers) not offering health benefits, nearly half (48 percent) cite high premiums as the most important reason for not doing so.

As in the past, the survey finds that workers in small businesses that offer health benefits on average pay more for family coverage than workers at larger firms do -- $4,101 annually for workers in small firms (three to 199 workers), compared with $2,982 annually for workers in larger firms. For single coverage, the opposite is true, with workers at small firms annually contributing less on average than workers at large firms ($624 vs. $769).

"Many small businesses struggle just to provide any health benefits for their workers, and when it is offered, their workers on average pay more for family coverage and face higher deductibles than those working for big employers," said Kaiser Vice President Gary Claxton, co-author of the study and director of the Foundation's marketplace research.

Three In 10 Large Employers Offer Retiree Health Benefits.

The survey finds that 31 percent of large firms (200 or more workers) offer retiree health benefits this year, similar to the 33 percent who did so last year but less than half the 66 percent who did so in 1988.

Among those large firms offering retiree health benefits, 69 percent say that at least some active employees will be eligible for retiree health benefits if they retire at age 65 or older, and 90 percent say that some active employees will be eligible if they retire before age 65. Within these large firms reporting that at least some active employees are eligible for early-retiree or Medicare-age retiree health benefits, about 78 percent of active workers would be eligible at age 65 or older and 72 percent of active workers would be eligible if they retire before age 65.

Most Firms Offer Wellness Programs

The survey finds that more than ha
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SOURCE Henry J. Kaiser Foundation
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