Health Insurance Premiums Jump 9% Across the U.S.
The Kaiser Family Foundation just released a new report showing that the average annual premium for family medical insurance coverage has gone up 9% over 2010. The average family and their employer now pays $15,073 in insurance.
This comes in the face of a struggling economy and a stubborn unemployment rate. Overall, insurance premiums have risen over 100% – more than doubling since 2001. Meanwhile, wages have only risen 34% in the same ten-year period.
Some providers are raising rates even higher. Aetna’s premium increases have ranged from 9% to 53%. United Health Group’s premium increases have ranged from 13 to 34% during the year.
Meanwhile, insurance premiums for those that need it the most are being jacked sky high in some cases. A New York Times report cited a patient who underwent chemotherapy last year being subjected to a 270% rise in his family’s premium, to $2,293 per month for a policy that includes a $5,000 deductible.
Many of the insurance providers discussed in the report cited that their own costs of health care coverage are going up. At the same time, research has illustrated that doctors are ordering more lab reports than they believe is necessary in order to protect themselves from malpractice claims.
Many states have regulations requiring insurers to spend a minimum of their premiums on paying medical claims in an effort to keep premiums down. New York, for example, requires that 82% of premium income must pay claims.
Some health care consultants have found in their analyses that the growth in premiums is directly related to the increases in drug costs and hospital costs. As pharmaceutical companies charge more, insurers must pay more. The same goes for hospitals, who strive to equip their hospitals with increasingly new technology.
Many countries have found that they can reduce health care costs by focusing on preventive health care, and alternative “green” medicine. These low-tech solutions have been shown to reduce disease rates, reduce pharmaceutical use and reduce hospital stays, thereby reducing health care costs for everyone in the pool.