Obama: Premiums Up at a Slower Rate in Last Two Years Than Last 50

Factcheck: Premiums shot up at 9 percent in 2011


President Obama claimed that health care premiums have risen at a slower rate in the last two years than in the last 50 — but in 2011, premiums shot up 9 percent, compared to 5 and 3 percent increases the years prior.

“Over the last two years, health care premiums have gone up — it’s true — but they’ve gone up slower than any time in the last 50 years,” Obama said during the first presidential debate in Denver Wednesday night.

But Obama’s claim is false: In 2011, premiums increased 9 percent according to a study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation:

The cost of health insurance for many Americans this year climbed more sharply than in previous years, outstripping any growth in workers’ wages and adding more uncertainty about the pace of rising medical costs.

A new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit research group that tracks employer-sponsored health insurance on a yearly basis, shows that the average annual premium for family coverage through an employer reached $15,073 in 2011, an increase of 9 percent over the previous year. […]

The Kaiser survey includes both big and small companies using employer-sponsored coverage representing about 60 percent of all insured Americans of working age. The annual growth in premiums, according to the survey, had slowed in recent years to 5 percent, rising just 3 percent in 2010, in part due to the lingering effects of the recession. After years of double-digit increases, the moderation was a welcome relief.