Healthcare premiums from 2000 to 2007 rose 5.4 times faster than earnings, a sign that more people are at risk of losing their health insurance, a state-by-state analysis released by Families USA concluded.
The analysis, which includes 50 state-specific reports and a report for the District of Columbia, compared insurance premiums with wages during this time period. The advocacy group found that family insurance premiums for employer-sponsored coverage rose from $6,772 to $12,075, an increase of more than $5,300 or 78.3%, said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, at a teleconference.
Median earnings by comparison increased at a much slower rate, from $25,024 in 2000 to $28,640 in 2007, an increase of only 14.5%. Taking these two results together, this is why people feel their insurance costs are taking a bigger and bigger bite out of their family budgets, Pollack said.
Not only are premiums skyrocketing, but the portion paid by workers is increasing faster than the portion paid by employers, Pollack said. While employers portions rose by more than 74% during this time period, the workers portion rose by more than 90%.
These findings prove escalating healthcare costs were a problem even before the economic downturn, even though the recent crisis has made it worse, Pollack said. If this troubling trend continues, many Americans may end up becoming uninsured or underinsured. -- by Jennifer Lubell