Health insurance costs for Americans who get their coverage through work continued a relentless march upward with average family premiums rising 4% to $21,342 this year, according to a study published Thursday.
The annual survey by KFF found 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. (KHN is an editorially independent program of KFF.)
While health insurance costs rose a modest amount in 2020, as has been the trend in recent years, they soared 55% in the past decade — more than twice the pace of inflation and wages.
About 157 million Americans 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.
“Conducted partly before the pandemic, our survey shows the burden of health costs on workers remains high, though not getting dramatically worse,” Drew Altman, KFF’s CEO, said in a statement. “Things may look different moving forward as employers grapple with the economic and health upheaval sparked by the pandemic.”
The survey was conducted from January to July as the coronavirus pandemic took hold and upended the nation’s economy. Many of the details of the employers’ plans that the researchers examined were set before the virus hit.
Since 2012, the cost of family coverage has increased 3% to 5% annually. It’s been more than 15 years since these costs were rising at double-digit rates.
Employers help shield workers from much of the cost of their health insurance premiums, though employees often feel the impact via higher deductibles, copayments and lower wages.
On average, workers pay 17% of the premium for single coverage and 27% for