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Job-based health insurance premiums jump 62 percent in 8 years
By Insure.com staff

Average premiums for employer-sponsored family health insurance plans rose 62 percent between 2003 and 2011, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report.

Last year the average annual premium was $15,022, compared to $9,249 in 2003.

Health insurance costs rose faster than incomes in all states, and workers paid more out of their pockets for coverage. Employees' share of premiums rose 74 percent, and deductibles more than doubled between 2003 and 2011.

The report on state trends in premiums and deductibles found that total health insurance premiums now amount to 20 percent or more of annual median family incomes in 35 states, affecting 80 percent of the U.S. working-age population. States in the South and South-Central U.S. had the highest costs relative to household income.

"Wherever you live in the United States, health insurance is expensive, and for many middle- as well as low-income families it is becoming ever less affordable," Commonwealth Fund Senior Vice President Cathy Schoen, the report's lead author, said in a press statement. "Workers are paying more for less financial protection when they get sick. The steady increase in health care costs over the past decade underscores the urgent need to build on the groundwork laid by the Affordable Care Act to slow the growth in private insurance costs."

In 2011, average annual premiums for family plans ranged from about $12,400 to $13,500 in the lowest-cost states (Arkansas, Alabama, Iowa, Tennessee, Idaho, Mississippi, Utah and North Dakota), to more than $15,000 a year in 21 states. Premiums averaged from $16,000 to almost $17,000 in Delaware, Alaska, Connecticut, Vermont, New York, the District of Columbia, New Hampshire and Massachusetts, which have the highest average family premiums.

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