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Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums increase 50 percent in 7 years
By Insure.com staff

Premiums for employer-sponsored family health insurance rose by 50 percent from 2003 to 2010, and the annual amount workers pay toward their insurance increased by 63 percent, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report examining state trends in health insurance costs.

Meanwhile, premiums are buying less protection. Deductibles per person doubled for employees over the same period.

By 2010, more than half of the U.S. population, 62 percent, lived in a state where health insurance premiums equaled 20 percent or more of earnings for a middle-income individual under age 65, according to the report. In 2003, there were 13 states where annual premiums were less than 14 percent of the median income; by 2010, there was none.

The average annual employer-sponsored family health insurance premium was $13,871 in 2010. Annual premiums rose in every state between 2003 and 2010, with increases ranging from 33 percent in Idaho to 70 percent in Mississippi.

Premiums were highest in New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Florida, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C., with averages ranging from $14,730 to $15,206. Average premiums were lowest in Idaho, Arkansas, Hawaii, Montana and Alabama, where they ranged from $11,379 to $12,409.

The report authors say slowing health insurance premium growth will require reforming how health care is paid for in the private sector, as well as in public programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

"The combination of rapidly rising costs and stagnant incomes is putting families in an untenable situation," said Karen Davis, Commonwealth Fund president, in a press release. "New rules for insurers, along with new models of health care delivery such as accountable care organizations and new ways of paying doctors and hospitals, can help control health care costs and provide families and business owners with the relief they need."

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