The Brutal Picture, Employer-Sponsored Health Care
Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums increased an average of 11.2 percent in 2004, less than last year's 13.9 percent increase, but still the fourth consecutive year of double-digit growth. Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose at about five times the rate of inflation (2.3 percent) and workers' earnings (2.2 percent).
In 2004, premiums reached an average of $9,950 annually for family coverage ($829 per month) and $3,695 ($308 per month) for single coverage, according to the new survey. Family premiums for PPOs , Preferred Provider Organizations which cover most workers, rose to $10,217 annually ($851 per month) in 2004, up significantly from $9,317 annually ($776 per month) in 2003. Since 2000, premiums for family coverage have risen 59 percent.
ïThe percentage of all workers receiving health coverage from their employer in 2004 is 61%, about the same as in 2003 (62 percent) but down significantly from the recent peak of 65% in 2001. In 2004, 63 percent of all small firms (three to 199 workers) offer health benefits to their workers, down from 68 percent in 2001.