Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Health Insurance Premium Growth

Written By: Jason Shafrin - Oct• 04•11

Health Insurance premium inflation is back.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation Employer Health Benefits Survey 2011, health insurance premiums for single individuals was $5,429 for single individuals and $15,073 for a family plan.  Premium growth for single and family plans was below 6 percent per year over the last 5 years (2005-2010). However, between 2010 and 2011, premiums grew 7.5 percent for single plans and 9.5 percent for family plans.

Many economists may think that inflation is a driver, but the overall inflation rate in 2011 was only estimated to be 2.1 percent.

Additional Information from the EHBS is below.

Health Plan Offerings Rates

Health plan offer rates have also been volatile in recent years.  “In 2011, 60% of firms offer health benefits, a statistically significant decrease from the 69% reported in 2010 but unchanged from the 59% reported in 2009.”  Almost all firms with 200 or more workers offer benefits however.

“Employees in firms with a lower proportion of lower-wage workers (less than 35% of workers earn $23,000 or less annually) are more likely to be eligible for health benefits than employees in firms with a higher proportion of lower-wage workers.”

“Eighty-four percent of firms offering health benefits in2011 offer only one type of health plan. Large firms (200 or more workers) are more likely to offer morethan one plan type than small firms (3-199 workers):42% vs. 15%.”

Share of covered workers were offered the following plan types:

  • PPO: 76%
  • HDHP: 40%
  • HMO: 39%
  • POS: 16%
  • Conventional Plan: 7%

Waiting Periods

“Seventy-two percent of covered workers face a waiting period before coverage is available. Covered workers in the Northeast are less likely (61%) than workers in other regions to face a waiting period, while those in the West are more likely (81%).”

Coverage

Share of individuals receiving coverage through employers of the following plan types:

  • PPO: 55%
  • HMO: 17%
  • HDHP: 17%
  • POS: 10%
  • Conventional Plan: 1%

HMO enrollment is highest in the Western U.S. (31%), in part due to Kaiser’s influence in the region.

“Almost all covered workers [98%] have coverage for prescription drugs. More than three infour covered workers are in plans with three or more cost-sharing tiers for prescriptiondrugs. Copayments rather than coinsurance continue to be the dominant form of costsharing for prescription drugs.”

Contributions
“Premium contributions by covered workers average 18% for single coverage and 28%for family coverage.  The average monthly worker contributions are $77 for single coverage and $344 for family coverage.”  These values are similar to the 2010 values.

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5 Comments

  1. evil-root says:

    This is some good news the rate of increase in premiums is getting out of control. How long can that trend be sustained?

  2. Tom Franks says:

    The CHAMPVA Supplemental Insurance Plan, http://www.champva.us/index.php when combined with your CHAMPVA benefits, is designed to provide you with the protection you need when you need it. The plan will pay your cost share for both covered inpatient and outpatient medical expenses after you satisfy the calendar year plan deductible of $150 per person, $300 family maximum.
    Many veteran beneficiaries are unaware they may be eligible for CHAMPVA.

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