Employer Plan Premiums Show Slow Growth in 2013, Survey Finds

Annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance increased by 4 percent for family coverage and 5 percent for single coverage, modest cost growth consistent with the past several years, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey.

DoctorKaiser conducted the survey from January through May and found the average annual premium is $5,884 for single coverage and $16,351 for family coverage. Simultaneously, wages increased by 1.8 percent and inflation increased 1.1 percent, according to the report. Since 2003, premiums have gone up 80 percent. During the same time period, wages went up 31 percent and inflation increased 27 percent.

In 2013, the survey found 78 percent of all covered workers must pay a general annual deductible, compared with 72 percent last year. Offer rates have remained relatively stable, with 57 percent of firms offering health benefits to their employees. In 2012, 61 percent offered benefits.

The survey also found 36 percent of workers with employer-sponsored health coverage are in "grandfathered" plans by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's definition, down from 48 percent in 2012. That means more workers stand to benefit from the reform provisions concerning the employer market. Grandfathered plans were in place before the PPACA became law and are exempt from the employer market provisions, according to Kaiser.

Employer-sponsored health insurance covers about 149 million nonelderly people, according to the survey.

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