Employer Healthcare Coverage Costs Americans More and Offers Less

American families with employer-sponsored health insurance are paying more for inferior coverage, according to a new study from the Commonwealth Fund

According to the study, premiums for family coverage rose 41 percent between 2003 and 2009, more than three times faster than median incomes.  Deductibles on a yearly basis rose 77 percent.

According to the study’s authors, “Fortunately, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contains a significant number of coverage and delivery system reform provisions designed to reduce cost growth and provide financial protection, while improving the quality of healthcare.  The creation of state-based health insurance exchanges, the introduction of new market rules and consumer protections, and the expansion of state and federal oversight of industry practices will begin to increase value in U.S. health insurance markets.  Further analysis suggests that the incentives for administrative efficiency and modernization included in the ACA have the potential to save businesses and families $2,000 or more in premium costs by 2019.”

Whether you live in Montana, Texas, or New York, private insurance costs have been increasing faster than working family incomes,” said Commonwealth Fund Senior Vice President Cathy Schoen, the study’s lead author.   “For more than a decade, families with job-based insurance have been sacrificing wages to hold on to health insurance. The good news is that the Affordable Care Act reforms provide a foundation to improve coverage and slow healthcare cost growth in the future.”

“Health insurance is increasingly unaffordable for families, and benefits are being scaled back as employers and workers struggle to keep up in a difficult economy,” said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis.  “If implemented well, provisions in the Affordable Care Act — including some starting this year, such as tax credits for small businesses to provide coverage, dependent coverage for young adults up to age 26, and elimination of co-payments for preventive care — have the opportunity to reverse these unsustainable increases and ensure that families in every state have access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance.”

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