Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Average cost of health insurance premiums doubled over last decade

COLUMBIA, MO (KBIA) - Health care premiums are at a record high. A survey released Tuesday shows the average family is now paying over $15,000 a year on health care premiums.

The rising costs are affecting Missourians as well.

$15,000 per year is more than double what the average family was paying for health insurance a decade ago. This year’s increase in premiums was one of the largest since the Kaiser Family Foundation began the yearly survey in 1999, says the group’s president, Drew Altman.

"I think what’s especially notable this time, is that it comes when wages have been falling in real terms, when wages are not really keeping up with inflation," Altman said.

In Missouri, a relatively high percentage of employers provide health insurance. But Ryan Barker, with the Missouri Foundation for Health, says high costs are changing that.

"That percentage of Missourians with employer insurance has dropped year after year, and so there’s just been this slow decline. It’s been a little bit slower than other states, but I think we’ll continue to see that as health insurance premiums continue to go up."

Nationally, 60 percent of employers offer health insurance.

Jacob Fenston, KBIA


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