Premium Increases Slow for Employers Thanks to Workers Bearing More of the Burden

Remember those double-digit increases in premiums back in the early 2000s? Well, employers remember them too and they’re happy that they’re in the rearview, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Workers, though, should not be faulted for considering them the good old days, because the current slowdown in the rise of premiums has been accomplished by shifting more costs onto their shoulders in the form of higher copayments and deductibles. For the first time since the Kaiser Family Foundation started the annual survey, more than half the workers in health plans covering a single person had to pay a deductible of at least $1,000.

Average premiums for employer-sponsored health care coverage for a family rose 3.4% in 2016. That’s down from annual increases of nearly twice that much before 2011. However, the growth in high-deductible health plans with a savings option has grown 8 percentage points over the last two years, according to the survey. “In 2016, the average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance are $6,435 for single coverage and $18,142 for family coverage,” the survey said.