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Health insurance premiums on the rise on 2009

Posted On Wed, September 16, 2009

Despite a slight drop in inflation during the first half of 2009, employees are finding themselves paying more for employer-sponsored health insurance premiums that rose at almost double the rate of their wages, according to the 2009 Employer Health Benefits Survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) on Tuesday.

According to the survey, health insurance premiums in 2009 rose by 5 percent to an annual average of $13,375. Of that, employees paid an average of $3,515 while the employers covered the remaining average of $9,860.

However, the 5 percent premium hike came while employee wages only increased by 3.1 percent. The difference is even more pronounced over the last 10 years, where premium costs have risen 131 percent while wages have only increased by 38 percent.

"Today's survey results demonstrate the need for comprehensive, meaningful reform," said Dr. Maulik S. Joshi, the president of HRET and senior vice president for research at the American Hospital Association. "Our nation faces a unique opportunity to achieve reform and build a better health care system that improves care for patients and provides coverage for all at an affordable cost."

The survey also found that 60 percent of the firms surveyed said they offered benefits to workers. However, 21 percent of the respondents added that they had reduced their benefits packages due to the economic downturn while only 15 percent reported adding to their package.

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