Cost of family coverage increases 10 times faster than policyholders' earned income
Concord, New Hampshire – The same week presidential candidate John McCain is under attack for his lacking health care proposal, a new analysis of government data shows that Americans who get health insurance for theirfamilies through their jobs have seen their premiums increase 10 times faster than their income in recent years. Z
The study, released as part of Cover the Uninsured Week (April 27–May 3) by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shows that a growing share of workers' earnings is being absorbed by the increasing cost of health insurance.
Nationwide, the amount employees pay for family coverage increased 30 percent from 2001 to 2005, while family policyholders' income increased just 3 percent over the same period.
The analysis was compiled by researchers at the State Health Access Data Assistance Center, located at the University of Minnesota. It uses the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau (two-year averages for 2001-2002 and 2006-2007) and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (2000, 2001, 2005).
"This study makes plain what every working parent knows – that providing insurance coverage takes a bigger bite from the family budget every year," said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "There is a clear connection between the rising cost of health care and the increasing number of uninsured Americans."
Key findings from New Hampshire show:
- The average cost of family coverage increased.
The average cost of family coverage increased over $1,300 – from $10,500 in 2002 to $11,835 in 2005. The percentage of family premiums that employees pay held steady at about 24 percent.
- Families are paying more for insurance premiums, with less income.
The amount that workers pay for family premiums, on average, increased $273, from $2,615 in 2001 to $2,888 in 2005. Meanwhile, the median income of people who hold family health insurance policies actually decreased $437 during the same period, from $44,740 in 2001 to $44,303 in 2005.
- Employers are paying more to provide health care coverage.
The average cost that employers pay for their share of family coverage increased from $7,886 to $8,947, or 13 percent, during the period.
- More people are uninsured.
According to the latest Census figures, 150,000 New Hampshire residents do not have any health insurance. Nationally, 47 million Americans are uninsured.
"The skyrocketing cost of health care is hurting employees and employers," said John Thyng, state director of New Hampshire for Health Care, a group pushing for comprehensive health care reform. "It's ironic that the same week this report is being issued, John McCain is touting a health care proposal that does nothing to control escalating health care costs. In fact, his health care policy would actually shift more costs onto families by discouraging employers from offering health care coverage, leaving families to fend for themselves."
New Hampshire for Health Care has teamed up with RWJF to distribute the report in New Hampshire during Cover the Uninsured Week, a nonpartisan week of action advocating for access to quality, affordable health care for every American. New Hampshire for Health Care is also supporting the launch of the Road to American Health Care tour during the week, a nationwide bus tour calling for comprehensive health care reform that will travel through battleground states on its way to the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
To download the full report, go to www.newhampshireforhealthcare.org