Most employers didn't pay health insurance premiums for furloughed workers: Labor bureau

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Half of private businesses surveyed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics furloughed workers to respond to financial stress from the COVID-19 pandemic — and most of those companies stopped paying health insurance premiums for furloughed workers, too, according to new data.

For its dataset, the bureau collected information from private businesses on their operations from January through September of this year. 

The bureau found only 42 percent of businesses that furloughed workers paid part or all of employees' health insurance premiums. Additionally, only 14 percent of employers increased their sick pay.

The bureau didn't include expanded analysis with its data, but the information comes as health insurance costs continue to rise for employers. In 2019, the average cost of employer-based family health insurance surpassed $20,000 for the first time. On average, workers are used to paying about $6,000 of that, while employers pick up the rest. 

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