The cost of employer-sponsored health insurance plans is increasing both for employers and employees, according to recent studies.
According to KFF’s 25th annual employee benefits survey, the average annual premium for employer-sponsored health insurance as of July was $8,435 for individual coverage and $23,968 for family coverage, a year-over-year increase of 7%.
“Over the last five years, the average premium for family coverage has increased by 22% compared to a 27% increase in workers’ wages and 21% inflation,” according to KFF.
Workers are kicking in substantially more toward health insurance premiums, according to the data. On average, covered workers are contributing 17% of the overall premium for single coverage and 29% of the premium for family coverage.
“I think it just sort of demonstrates the continued strain that employees and employers are facing when it comes to being able to afford to both offer health insurance to employees and then for employees to afford that coverage,” Andrea Ducas, vice president of health policy at the Center for American Progress, told Yahoo Finance. “It’s sort of untenable.”
The high cost of health insurance, even when the bulk of the premium falls to employers, is pricing some workers out of the market. According to a recent survey from the Commonwealth Fund, 38% of working adults in the United States declined utilizing healthcare or prescription drugs benefits, “including 54% of those with employer-sponsored coverage.”
“I think that even for working people, but particularly for low-wage workers, many of the cost-sharing provisions required by employer-sponsored health plans raise real affordability issues [for] what their ability is to actually use the plan,” Matthew Rae, associate director of the healthcare marketplace project at KFF, told Yahoo Finance.
More employer-sponsored health plans are requiring higher deductibles than in years past, he noted. The KFF survey found that 90% of US workers have a deductible, compared with 55% in 2006.
“It’s becoming so unaffordable for people to use their coverage, and it’s becoming harder and harder for employers to offer it,” Ducas said. “And there’s so much that needs to happen to bring down the cost of care.”