Insurance Premiums Rise a Modest 3% in 2014

Employer-sponsored health premiums rose 3% for family plans this year, capping off 5 years of modest growth, according to a new survey from the Henry Kaiser Family Foundation.

Employer-sponsored health premiums rose 3% for family plans this year, capping off 5 years of modest growth, according to a new survey from the Henry Kaiser Family Foundation.

The average family health coverage cost $16,834 this year, of which workers paid $4,823, on average. Single coverage premiums this year averaged $6,025, a 2% increase, though the study’s authors say that amount is statistically insignificant. Workers with single coverage paid about $1,081 toward their premiums.

Overall, premiums have grown by 26% the past five years, far below the 34% seen the five years prior.

“The relatively slow growth in premiums this year is good news for employers and workers, though many workers now pay more when they get sick as deductibles continue to rise and skin-in-the-game insurance gradually becomes the norm,” said Drew Altman, PhD, the foundation’s president, in a press release.

Deductibles also continue to rise. Eighty percent of workers faced annual general deductibles in 2014. The average deductible was $1,217, up from $826 in 2009.

Eighteen percent of workers had deductibles of at least $2,000, the study found. Workers at smaller firms were more likely to face high deductibles; 61% of small-firm employees faced deductibles of more than $1,000. Only 41% of workers overall faced $1,000 deductibles, nearly double the rate from five years ago.

Other key findings:

  • The average primary care copay was $24. The average specialist copy was $36.
  • Average prescription drug copays were $11 for generics, $31 for preferred brands, $53 for non-preferred brands and $83 for specialty drugs.
  • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans were the most common type of employer-sponsored health plan, encompassing about 58% of covered workers. Another 20% were enrolled in high-deductible plans with savings options. HMOs covered 13% of enrollees and 8% had Point-of-Service (POS) plans.
  • Overall, 55% of firms — employing 90% of workers – offered some type of health benefits to their workers in 2014. That’s virtually unchanged from last year. Almost every firm with 1,000 or more workers offered coverage, but only 44% of firms with 3 to 9 employees did so.