Study: 20 states' premium costs above average, reform suggested

A new survey by The Commonwealth Fund shows that families in 20 states had higher than average premium payments for insurance coverage in 2008 and suggests that potential reforms could reduce costs by up to 1.5 percent per year in the next decade.

A new survey by The Commonwealth Fund shows that families in 20 states had higher than average premium payments for insurance coverage in 2008 and suggests that potential reforms could reduce costs by up to 1.5 percent per year in the next decade.

The study, which surveyed premium and income trends among the populace under the age of 65 in each state, found that the average premium paid for family coverage in 2008 was $12,298. When detailed further, the study found that 25 states' premium costs were below the average - with Idaho holding the lowest cost at just under $11,000 - while 20 states had costs above the average - with Massachusetts netting the highest average costs at $13,788 according to Boston.com.

The report also noted that employer-sponsored plans had risen 33 percent on average from 2003 to 2008 and that the average payments could potentially double to over $23,000 by 2020.

However, the report also suggested that national reforms being discussed by the government that promote "payment incentives that reward high-value care, and other health system reforms to bring about more patient-centered, coordinated care" could reverse the trend and cut national premium costs by one to one-and-a-half percentage point-per-year for the next decade.

Reforms, the survey added, could cut rates in the states with the lowest premiums up to $1,522 by 2015 and could net savings for the states with the highest premium costs of up to $4,114 by 2020.

"Our analysis suggests that in every state - regardless of size or geographic region - insured people stand to gain when reform is truly in the public interest," the report states.

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Posted: August 24, 2009

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