Employer health insurance premiums up 41 percent for family coverage, report says

Premiums for employer-sponsored family health insurance increased an average of 41 percent between 2003 and 2009, while deductibles jumped on average 77 percent per person, according to a Commonwealth Fund report released Thursday morning.

The biggest increase in employer-based premiums for family coverage was seen in Louisiana (59 percent) over the past six years, while Delaware experienced the smallest increase (21 percent). In 2009, premiums were highest in Alaska, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming, where annual costs surpassed $14,000 for a family. The lowest average premium costs ranged between $11,000 and $12,000 for 11 states.

Meanwhile, more workers are paying deductibles — more than half (52 percent) faced a deductible in 2003, while 74 percent faced one in 2009.

If premium increases maintain their current pace, families will pay on average $23,342 by 2020, according to the report, which analyzed the impact of implementing healthcare reform. However, if the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is successful in slowing premium increases by 1 percentage point per year, average annual family premiums would decrease nearly $2,300 by 2020, the report said.

“If implemented well, provisions in the Affordable Care Act — including some starting this year, such as tax credits for small businesses to provide coverage, dependent coverage for young adults up to age 26, and elimination of co-payments for preventive care — have the opportunity to reverse these unsustainable increases and ensure that families in every state have access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance,” said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis.