Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health insurance coverage rose 4 percent this year over 2011 to $15,745, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust 2012 Employer Health Benefits Survey.
Workers on average pay $4,316 toward the cost of coverage this year.
Although moderate when compared to increases in other years, this year's premium increase outpaced the 1.7 percent growth in workers' wages and the 2.3 percent inflation rate. Since 2002, premiums have risen 97 percent -- three times as fast as wages and inflation.
"In terms of employee insurance costs, this year's 4 percent increase qualifies as a good year, but it still takes a growing bite out of middle-class workers' wages, which have been flat or falling in real terms," Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman said in a press statement.
The survey showed a wide gap in benefits and worker contributions toward premiums between firms with many lower-wage workers and companies with many higher-wage workers. 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. Workers at lower-wage firms are also more likely to pay high deductibles than those at higher-wage firms.