New State-by-State Analysis: Employer Health Insurance Premiums Up 41% from 2003 to 2009

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<p>Even during a time when health insurance provides less and less protection for many Americans, premiums for private health plans have been sharply rising. According to a new Commonwealth Fund study released today, premiums for employer-sponsored family plans increased an average of 41 percent across states from 2003 to 2009—more than three times faster than median incomes. Meanwhile, deductibles per person have risen an average of 77 percent. </p>
<p>The study, <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2010/dec/state-trends-premiums-and-deductibles-2003-2009-how-building">State Trends in Premiums and Deductibles, 2003–2009: How Building on the Affordable Care Act Will Help Stem the Tide of Rising Costs and Eroding Benefits</a>, presents a state-by-state analysis of private employer health insurance costs for the six years before the Affordable Care Act was passed, and projects premiums in 2020 if these increases continue. The authors find that if premium costs continue to rise at the pace seen from 2003 to 2009, annual premiums will increase by 79 percent, reaching an average of $23,342 per family by 2020. </p>
<p>"Whether you live in Montana, Texas, or New York, private insurance costs have been increasing faster than the incomes of working families," said Fund senior vice president Cathy Schoen, the study's lead author. "The good news is that the Affordable Care Act reforms provide a foundation to improve coverage and slow health care cost growth in the future." </p>
<p>The new issue brief, part of the Fund's <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=F4EDA1AE78A944BEA80198B614439375&_z=z">Realizing Health Reform's Potential series</a>, summarizes provisions of the health reform law that have the potential to slow the rate of cost growth if successfully tested and adopted by private and public payers. According to the brief, if reforms slow historic premium increases by one percentage point per year, annual family premiums would be $2,323 lower by 2020. </p>
<p>Also available are an interactive map showing the premium increases by state and an audio clip of Cathy Schoen giving study highlights. Be sure to visit the <a href="~/link.aspx?_id=9B4EC3E4A71F457280D4CB62F713DCFC&_z=z">Health Reform Resource Center</a> on for more Commonwealth Fund analysis of the Affordable Care Act and its potential impact. </p>
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