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Survey: Family health coverage jumped 4 percent this year

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Employer-sponsored family health care premiums went up by a modest 4 percent this year, according to a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust.

Released Tuesday, the employer health benefits survey found that annual premiums now top $16,000, with workers paying nearly $4,600. By comparison, worker wages and general inflation were up 1.8 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

Since 2003, premiums have increased 80 percent, nearly three times as fast as wages and inflation, which have grown by 31 percent and 27 percent, respectively.

"We are in a prolonged period of moderation in premiums, which should create some breathing room for the private sector to try to reduce costs without cutting back benefits for workers," Kaiser president and CEO Drew Altman said.

The survey looked at more than 2,000 small and large employers. This year, 78 percent of all covered workers face a general annual deductible, up from 72 percent last year, according to the survey. The average deductible for work-only coverage is $1,135, up from $1,097 in 2012.

Large deductibles of at least $1,000 or more are common in employer-sponsored plans, especially among workers of smaller firms, the survey found. At small firms, 58 percent of covered workers now face deductibles of at least $1,000, including nearly a third who face deductibles of at least $2,000. That was up from 12 percent in 2008.

On the question of private health insurance exchanges, 29 percent of those with at least 5,000 workers said they are considering offering benefits through a private exchange in the future. These firms employ almost 40 percent of all covered workers, according to the survey.

Editor's note: To clarify, this survey looked at rate increases for 2013, not at upcoming rate increases for 2014.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jscott@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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