The high rate of HMO enrollment in California is benefiting state residents, at least in terms of how much money they spend on healthcare. Annual premiums in the state in 2002 were about 8% lower than the national average: $2,845 for individuals and $7,471 for families, compared with $3,060 for individuals and $7,954 for families nationally, according to a study by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Some 54% of Californians are enrolled in HMOs, compared with 26% nationally. California employers continued to shift more healthcare costs onto workers, with 61% of large firms increasing the amount workers paid for coverage in 2002, nearly double the number that predicted they would do so. Although California workers saw their contributions increase 30%, they still paid less than residents of other states, contributing $342 for individual coverage and $1,806 for family coverage in 2002, compared with the national average of $454 for individuals and $2,084 for families. -- by Laura B. Benko
Calif. workers pay less for health coverage: study
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