Without Health Reform: Health Insurance Premiums Could Increase by 94%, Says Study

August 24, 2009

(ChattahBox)—A new study projects the rapid increase in employer-sponsored health insurance premiums over the next ten years, which could rise by an estimated 94 percent by the year 2020, severely straining families and employers. The Commonwealth Fund, a non-profit health care charity conducted the study using projections of federal data.

The study entitled, “Paying the Price: How Health Insurance Premiums Are Eating Up Middle-Class Incomes,” found that if premiums for employer-sponsored insurance continue to rise at current rates, the average premium for family coverage would increase from $12,298 to $23,842 by 2020, which is a 94 percent increase.

The study noted that although employers pay most of the costs of premiums, the worker suffers from stagnated wages and reduced retirement savings, when employers look for ways to cut corners to pay for health insurance costs. The national trends show an alarming 119 percent rise in health insurance premiums, while median family income rose by just 29 percent.

Even with trade offs of lower take-home pay, workers also are contributing more every month to the cost of employer-based health care, eating up any small wage increases they may receive.

The study found that if health care reform could slow premium growth by just 1 percentage point in every state, employers and families together would save $2,571 per premium for family coverage by 2020. A slowing of costs by 1.5 percentage points could reap savings of $3,759 per premium, based on current projections.

The author of the study, Cathy Shoen, senior vice president of the Commonwealth Fund said, “With health spending projected to double if we stay on our current path, middle-and lower-income families are at high risk of losing their coverage or facing long-term stagnant incomes.

Reforms that slow the growth of health-care costs could go a long way toward health and financial stability for working families, added Shoen.

Source


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