Health insurance premiums climbed 3% to 5% annually since 2012, survey says

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Get ready for the numbers.

It’s that time of year, when workers gather in the conference room (or through a zoom video conference) and brace for the latest news on health insurance plans.

Will premiums go up? Go down? Stay the same? Will companies change insurance companies again? Can workers keep their doctors?

It’s always hard to predict, and local brokerages are still crunching the numbers for many of their clients. But if history is any guide, expect premium prices to increase by mid-single-digit percentages for the next year. (Your plan may vary.)

Nationally, premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage were $21,342 this year, up 4% from last year, according to an annual survey released Oct. 8 by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The survey found that workers on average are paying nearly $5,600 this year toward family coverage, up from about $4,000 in 2010 and $1,600 in 2000.

Since 2012, the cost of family coverage through employer-sponsored plans has increased 3% to 5% each year. Kaiser’s report did make any predictions about 2021 prices.

In Indiana , the average premiums for medical plans rose about 3.2% this year, according to a survey conducted in May by Nyhart, an Indianapolis actuarial and employee benefit firm, using data compiled by 287 employers across Indiana and approximately 530 health plans. The annual premium for a family plan was $22,953 and the annual premium for single plans was $7,982.

The issue is important in Indiana, which relies heavily on employer-sponsored plans for health care. About 54% of Hoosiers, or 3.5 million people, are insured through employer plans, above the national average of 49%, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. No surrounding state has a higher reliance on company plans.

Nationally, about 157 million people rely on employer-sponsored coverage—far more than any other type of coverage, including Medicare, Medicaid and individually purchased insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges. More than half of employers provide insurance to at least some workers.

Employers help shield workers from much of the cost of their health insurance premiums, although employees often feel the impact via higher deductibles, copayments and lower wages.

According to Nyhart, employee contributions as a percentage of overall premium cost in Indiana increased 0.1% for single coverage and 0.5% for family coverage last year.

Some other findings:

  • Primary-care visits increased from 2.644 visits per employee in 2019 to 2.704 visits per employee in 2020.
  • Emergency room visits decreased slightly, from 0.262 visits per employee in 2019 to 0.217 visits.
  • On average, generic prescription drugs are about six times more likely to be utilized as brand name prescriptions per year. This is the same ratio as 2019.
  • Overall, deductibles reported have increased about 2.3% on average. Traditional plan deductibles have increased approximately 3.7% since 2019. HSA plan deductibles increased approximately 1%.
  • The average out-of-pocket amount that plan members paid in 2020 was $4,431.

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2 thoughts on “Health insurance premiums climbed 3% to 5% annually since 2012, survey says

  1. I wish my premiums went up only 3 to 5% annually since 2012. For this self-employed guy, my premiums have gone up by 300% since 2012. Went from $7000 per year to $30,000 per year. This is all due to ACA and the insurance companies getting their dough from the little guys who have no other place to go.

    1. I’m in the same boat as Bernard. My individual insurance policy went from $4,000 in 2000 to $26,000 per year in 2018. In the past 40 years, I’ve used around $5,000 worth of insurance coverage. I’ve rarely been sick, that’s why I’ve never filed claims. Then Anthem pulled out of Indiana and President Trump canceled the “Affordable Care Act”. I joined Aetna’s 20/80 plan. It costs me about $300 a month and I have no complaints, it is a good deal.

      IBJ’s headline groups everyone together, no matter if you buy your health insurance on your own or have an employer pay for half of it, into the same group that doesn’t pay anything for their insurance. Then you can come up with the headline claim that health insurance rates have only risen 3% per year. Isn’t that the annual rate of inflation? -Steven Pettinga (Subscriber)