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April 29, 2008

California Above U.S. Average for Health Insurance Cost Increases

The cost of health insurance premiums for coverage through private-sector jobs increased more than 10 times faster than employees' incomes from 2001 to 2005, according to a report released Tuesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Washington Post reports (Washington Post, 4/29).

In California, health insurance costs for the average family increased by about 34%, from $7,898 in 2001 to $10,551 in 2005, according to the study. During that period, salaries increased by about 9% on average for California workers.

California's jump in health insurance costs gives it the 12th-largest increase in the nation. The national average increase in health care costs was 30%, according to the study (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/29).

Study Methodology

Researchers from the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to compile the report (Forster, St. Paul Pioneer Press, 4/28).

The information was released in conjunction with National Cover the Uninsured Week (Anstett, Detroit Free Press, 4/29).

National Findings

According to the report, monthly premiums for family coverage increased 34.6% from $1,921 in 2001 to $2,585 in 2005, while median family income rose 3.1% from $40,818 to $42,068 during the same period (Washington Post, 4/29).

The report also found that employees nationwide are paying a larger percentage of their insurance premiums -- 24.1% in 2005 compared with 23.2% in 2001 (Park, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 4/29).

According to the report, the number of people with private coverage dropped by about 6% nationally, while the number of private-sector employers who offered health insurance declined by 0.8% nationally (St. Paul Pioneer Press, 4/28). Premium increases contributed to 2.4 million fewer U.S. residents with private health coverage in 2005 than in 2001, according to the report (Krouse, Cox/Raleigh News & Observer, 4/29).

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Posted by healthinsurance at April 29, 2008 04:16 PM