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Health insurance costs through employers went up slightly this year

Employee Benefits
by Heather Robinson
Health insurance costs through employers went up slightly this year
Health insurance costs through employers went up slightly this year

Over the past several years or more, many employers have taken to shifting costs for health insurance over to their employees, and that has resulted in people paying significantly more for their coverage. However, there was only a slight uptick in this regard in 2014, and may portend good things for workers who are concerned about their benefits and costs going forward.

In all, the annual health insurance premium for a family coverage plan increased 3 percent this year, while the premium for single buyers rose 2 percent, according to the latest data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Today, 55 percent of firms polled offer health benefits to their workers (though perhaps not all employees are offered coverage), and many companies made no changes to the portion of premium their employees must pay. That number, too, was unchanged.

Interestingly, though, it seems that companies are cutting their bare-bones health insurance plans in favor of more expensive policies - with more benefits - in a lot of cases, the report said. The number of health insurance plans that were exempt from provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's rules for minimum coverage slid to just 26 percent of those offered, down from 36 percent last year.

But what does it cost workers?
As a result, it should be noted that workers and employers alike are now paying considerable amounts for their coverage, the report said. A single person's average premium (covered by both worker and company) comes to $6,025 annually, while premium for a family is $16,834, the report said. And the fact of the matter is, that over the last decade, the share of premium paid by workers is on the rise as well. While premiums have risen 69 percent since 2004, the share of those costs taken on by employees is up 81 percent, rising to more than $4,800 from less than $2,700 in just a decade.

These realities may lead many consumers to start considering other health insurance options, or potentially seek other benefits from their employers - such as access to health savings accounts - to deal with the potentially huge increase in their out-of-pocket costs. For this reason, companies that can provide as many options as possible might have the best chance of connecting with employees who want more flexibility when it comes to their health spending.

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