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Only Modest Premium Increases Seen in 2013: Kaiser Family Foundation Employer Health Survey

The Kaiser Family Foundation's 2013 Employer Health Survey, released August 20, 2013, found that there were only modest increases for both single and family premiums in 2013.

Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $16,351 this year, up 4 percent from last year, with workers on average paying $4,565 toward the cost of their coverage. During the same period, workers' wages and general inflation were up 1.8 percent and 1.1 percent respectively. This year's rise in premiums remains moderate by historical standards. Since 2003, family premiums have increased 80 percent, nearly three times as fast as wages (31 percent) and inflation (27 percent). 

Employee wellness programs are a popular strategy for employers trying to control costs. Nearly all large employers (at least 200 workers) offer at least one wellness program, which can take many forms and target a wide range of conditions. More than a third (36 percent) of large employers who offer wellness programs offer some kind of financial incentive for workers to participate, such as lower premiums or a lower deductible, receiving a larger contribution to a tax-preferred savings account, or gift cards, cash or other direct financial incentives.

Other key findings from the survey, conducted from January through May 2013, include:

  • Modest increases in premiums for both single coverage (5%) and family coverage (4%).  
  • Covered workers generally face similar premium contributions and cost-sharing requirements in 2013 compared to 2012.  
  • The percentage of covered workers enrolled in plan with a general annual deductible increased in 2013, to over three quarters of covered workers (78%).  Additionally, over half (58%) of covered workers at small firms (3-199 workers) now have a deductible of a $1,000 dollars or more.  
  • The percentage of firms (57%) which offer health benefits to at least some of their employees and the percentage of workers covered at those firms (62%) are statistically unchanged from 2012.  
  • The percentage of covered workers enrolled in grandfathered health plans – those plans exempt from many provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – declined to 36% of covered workers from 48% in 2012 and 56% in 2011.  

Get the executive summary here.

Get the full report here.

Posted by Cristie Travis at 8:29 AM

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