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Families Paying 3% Higher Premiums for Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance

Fewer small firms are offering health care coverage for employees due to high cost

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• September 20, 2017 11:00 am

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Families are paying 3 percent higher premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance, according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Premiums now average about $18,764. This is the sixth year that premiums in this category have had modest increases.

Since 2012, these premiums increased by 19 percent. From 2007 to 2012, premiums had increased 30 percent. And from 2002 to 2007, premiums increased 51 percent.

Workers are also contributing more to their health plans now than their employers are. Since 2012, workers contributed an average share of 32 percent, compared with their employer's share of 14 percent.

"Workers on average now contribute $5,714 annually toward their family premiums, and those at firms with fewer than 200 workers contribute more—$6,814 on average," the report states.

In addition, fewer small companies are offering health care. In 2012, 59 percent of companies with fewer than 50 workers offered health coverage. This year, that percentage dropped to 50 percent. Forty-four percent of these small firms say they don't offer coverage because of high costs, while 17 percent responded that they are too small.

Only 16 percent of small firms with less than 50 workers offer funds to their employees to choose coverage through the Obamacare marketplace or get insurance on their own. Only 2 percent say they believe the ACA marketplace offers employees a better deal.

"Small firms are much less likely to offer health benefits to their workers, and when they do, workers may find it quite costly to enroll their families," said Gary Claxton, the study's lead author.

The report also finds that those working at small firms pay more to cover their family than those working at large ones. Employees at small firms pay about $1,550 more each year than those at large firms, and deductibles average $3,660 at small companies, compared with $1,899 at large ones.

Published under: Health Care, Health Insurance