Action Needed to Curb Health Cost Increases

December 18, 2012 ( Rising health insurance premiums and higher cost-sharing continue to strain the budgets of working families and employers.

An analysis by the Commonwealth Fund of state trends in private employer-based health insurance from 2003 to 2011 reveals that premiums for family coverage increased 62% across states—rising far faster than income for middle- and low-income families. At the same time, deductibles more than doubled in large and small firms.   

The organization projects that if trends continue at their historical rate, the average premium for family coverage will reach nearly $25,000 by 2020. The Affordable Care Act’s reforms should begin to moderate costs while improving coverage, but with private insurance costs projected to increase faster than incomes over the next decade, further efforts are needed, the Commonwealth Fund contends. According to an Issue Brief about the analysis, if annual premium growth slowed by one percentage point, by 2020 employers and families would save $2,029 annually for family coverage.  

“[Fi]ndings of this analysis indicate that further action is needed to address the underlying drivers of cost growth in medical care,” the paper states.  

The Issue Brief and an interactive map can be downloaded from here.