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A recent report out of Washington DC says workers are now paying 14% more for their health care costs on employer sponsored plans.  This rise has occurred in the past twelve months and is spelling big problems for those who rely on these plans.  Not only that, but the costs are now almost 48% more than they were in 2005.  A. Harrison Barnes, founder of says the average employer is now paying just over $9,700 per year, per employee, for those health insurance premiums.

Other statistics include (courtesy of the Kaiser Family Foundation survey and ABC News)

  • Those with individual coverage are paying on average $900 per year in 2010, where as this time last year, their costs were $779.
  • Increases are visible in the employee’s share of the premiums, while employers are not paying more.
  • The deductibles with these premiums are on the rise, too.  Twenty seven percent have at least $1,000 in deductibles, while in 2009, only twenty two percent had this burden.
  • As mentioned, since 2005, insurance premiums have grown by nearly 48% while wages only increased 18%.
  • Preferred Provider Organizations, or PPOs, are most common and cover around 58% of American workers.

“Clearly, this is adding to the burdens more Americans are feeling these days”, says the founder.  With the rising costs of fuel, food and even college tuitions, the rising cost of insurance premiums is almost too much to bear for many American workers.  Drew Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation says it’s the first time he remembers “employers moving so boldly to shift health costs to workers”.  He goes on to say, “Added health costs for workers means added economic insecurity for working people in tough times”.

Close to 158 million American workers are insured through their employers, says A. Harrison Barnes, and as one expert says, “If costs continue to shift to consumers, households will face difficult choices, like forgoing needed care”.  This is the last thing families need, says Barnes.   For most, their employers are still covering the lion’s share of the premiums, but if this trend continues, it’s likely those shifts will eventually level out.  This, for many, spells out pay cuts – fewer dollars for more hours.

The icing on the cake is that insurance policies are becoming less comprehensive each year.  If this was the idea behind the “cure all” for America’s health care crisis, it appears the burden has yet to be lifted, and in fact, has only gotten heavier.

Finally, a recent Forbes article released some of the salaries for the head honchos of the nation’s largest insurers, along with contributions from the insurance, pharmaceutical and health services sectors made to lobbyists.  Those figures only add insult to injury to an American people that’s feeling quite bruised these days.

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