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New study shows health insurance premium spikes in every state

Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance have risen faster than incomes in every state in the nation, according to a report released Thursday.

The analysis of federal data by the Commonwealth Fund, an independent research organization, shed new light on the state-by-state picture while essentially confirming a national trend, highlighted in other recent surveys of employer-sponsored insurance, of greater premiums for skimpier benefits.

The District of Columbia had the highest annual total premiums, including both the employer’s and the worker’s share. In 2010, they averaged $5,644 for a single policy and $15,206 for a family version — a rise of 51 percent and 41 percent, respectively, since 2003.

But the costs were significant even in states with some of the lowest average rates, such as Alabama, where a single policy averaged $4,571 in total premiums and a family version reached $12,409. Maryland and Virginia were roughly in the middle of the pack.

“Although employees typically don’t see the total cost of their insurance, the sharp increase, in effect, means lower wages and salaries as employers make the trade-off between increasing wages and offering insurance,” said Cathy Schoen, a co-author of the study.

Read more by N.C. Aizenman, Washington Post, 11/17/11




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