Survey: Health insurance premiums rising faster than employee wages

Employers are finding themselves faced with higher health insurance payments in 2009, as their premiums have increased at a higher rate than their wages despite a general drop in inflation, according to the 2009 Employer Health Benefits Survey released by Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust.

Employers are finding themselves faced with higher health insurance payments in 2009, as their premiums have increased at a higher rate than their wages despite a general drop in inflation, according to the 2009 Employer Health Benefits Survey released by Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust.

The survey - which was conducted through polls sent out to 3,188 firms between January and May and had its formal result released on Tuesday - found that the average employer-sponsored health insurance premium had risen 5 percent to $13,375 annually. Of the average payment, the study found that employees paid an average of $3,515 while employers covered the remaining $9,860.

The rate of increase in premiums was much more than the 3.1 percent rise in workers' wages, or the rate of general inflation that actually fell by 0.7 percent during the same time period.

"When health care costs continue to rise so much faster than overall inflation in a bad recession, workers and employers really feel the pain," says Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Since 1999, premiums have risen by 131 percent, while workers' wages have only increased by 38 percent during the same time period.

Results from the survey would seem to fall in line with a report published last month from Families USA that found premiums had grown in four states by between 2.7 to 7.4 times the rates of paycheck.

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Posted: September 16, 2009

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