Cost of Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Has Increased for Workers, Study Finds
Workers' contributions to employer-sponsored health coverage for families increased by an average of 79% from 1996 to 2003, according to an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality study published on Wednesday, the Washington Post reports. The average employee contributed $2,283 for family coverage in 2003, compared with $1,275 in 1996 (Washington Post, 8/25).
Employers' contributions increased by about 89.3% -- or 59.9%, adjusted for inflation -- from $3,679 in 1996 to $6,966 in 2003, Reuters reports (Reuters, 8/24). From 2002 to 2003, premiums increased by 9.2% for single coverage, 10% for employee-plus one coverage and 9.2% for family coverage, the study found (Washington Post, 8/25).
Industry experts attribute the cost increases to high costs for new medical technology and the rising use and cost of prescription drugs (Reuters, 8/24). AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey collected data from 48,000 U.S. employers for the survey. About 63% of U.S. residents have employer-sponsored health coverage (Washington Post, 8/25).
The study is available online.
APM's "Marketplace" on Wednesday reported on a survey by the Employment Policy Foundation that found employer-sponsored health insurance could serve as "the new sticking point" in negotiations over compensation and benefits for workers. The segment includes comments from Gary Chasen, professor of labor management relations at Clark University, and Janemarie Mulvey, president and chief economist at EPF (Palmer, "Marketplace," APM, 8/24).
The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer. An executive summary of the survey is available online.