Family Health Premiums Rise 4 Percent to Average $15,745 in 2012

September 14, 2012

Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $15,745 this year, up 4 percent from last year, with workers on average paying $4,316 toward the cost of their coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) 2012 Employer Health Benefits Survey.

  • This year's premium increase is moderate by historical standards, but outpaced the growth in workers' wages (1.7 percent) and general inflation (2.3 percent).
  • Since 2002, premiums have increased 97 percent, three times as fast as wages (33 percent) and inflation (28 percent).

The survey reveals significant differences in the benefits and worker contributions toward family premiums between firms with many lower-wage workers (at least 35 percent of workers earn $24,000 or less a year) and firms with many higher-wage workers (at least 35 percent of their workers earn $55,000 or more a year).

  • Workers at lower-wage firms on average pay $1,000 more each year out of their paychecks for family coverage than workers at higher-wage firms ($4,977 and $3,968, respectively).
  • This occurs even though the firms with many lower-wage workers on average pay less in total premiums for family coverage than firms with many higher-wage workers ($14,694 and $16,427, respectively).

In addition, workers at lower-wage firms are also more likely to face high deductibles than those at higher-wage firms.

  • Specifically, 44 percent of covered workers at firms with many low-wage workers face an annual deductible of $1,000 or more, compared with 29 percent of those at firms with many high-wage workers.
  • Across all employers, a third of covered workers (34 percent) face a deductible of that size, including 14 percent with deductibles of at least $2,000 annually.

The survey also finds that large employers are more likely than small ones to allow workers to pay their share of premiums with pre-tax income (91 percent, compared to 41 percent) and to contribute pre-tax dollars to Flexible Spending Accounts (76 percent, compared to 17 percent).

Source: "Family Health Premiums Rise 4 Percent to Average $15,745 in 2012, National Benchmark Employer Survey Finds," Kaiser Family Foundation, September 11, 2012. "Employer Health Benefits 2012 Annual Survey," Kaiser Family Foundation, September 11, 2012.

 

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