Health insurance premiums increased 9.2% in 2005, the third consecutive year of slowing growth and the first year since 2000 in which growth did not reach double-digits, according to a survey by Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust. Despite the slowdown, premiums continued to outpace growth in earnings (2.7%) and overall inflation (3.5%), and coverage continued to decline. Some 60% of companies with at least five employees offered health insurance in 2005, compared with 69% in 2000. Workers contributed an average of $610 toward annual premiums among all types of health insurance, compared with employers' average contribution of $3,413. Family coverage cost workers an average of $2,713 in premiums annually -- a $1,094 increase since 2000 -- and employers contributed an average of $8,167 per policy. About one-fifth of employers offered high-deductible plans in 2005, compared with 5% in 2003, but few employees accepted. For example, just 1.2% of employees were enrolled in plans with health savings accounts. Read the survey results. -- by Tony Fong
Premium inflation slows but still tops earnings growth
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