Yesterday’s Los Angeles Times had a good article on the outrageous cost of health insurance, especially relative to inflation. As a small-business owner, I struggle with this issue every year. Each time we come up for renewal, I am forced to increase our deductibles or reduce our benefits in order to keep the costs of premiums at a manageable level. I blame both the health insurance carriers for these increases and the health providers for increasing their fees at a much greater rate than inflation in general. Here are excerpts:
If gas and milk price hikes seem steep, check out health insurance premiums. They have increased 10 times faster than incomes in recent years, a study shows.
Workers with job-based coverage for their families saw earnings rise 3% from 2001 to 2005, while their health insurance premium contribution increased 30%, according to the study by researchers at the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota.
The average cost nationally of family coverage during the period increased nearly $2,500, to $10,728 from $8,281. The average cost for job-based family coverage in California increased more than $2,650, to $10,551 from $7,898.
Between 2001 and 2005, more than 30,000 of the 3.6 million private-sector employers offering health insurance as a benefit to workers dropped it.
As a result, the number of people in private-sector jobs that offered health insurance benefits declined by more than 4 million, and the number of people with private insurance fell by 2.4 million, or 6%, the study found.