‘The calm before the storm’: Employer healthcare premiums hold steady despite inflation, but experts warn that may not last

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Employers are paying almost the same amount for health insurance this year as compared to last year. But it may change.

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Annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance averaged $22,463 in 2022, largely unchanged from last year’s $22,221. it is according to Employer Health Benefits Survey Released Thursday by KFF, a San Francisco-based healthcare think tank.

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A survey of more than 2,100 small and large employers by KFF found that workers are contributing an average of $6,106 towards the cost of family premiums this year, while employers pay the rest.

,Health care costs are a top priority for voters ahead of the November 8 midterm election. About 159 million Americans rely on employer-sponsored health-insurance coverage.,

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KFF President and CEO Drew Altman said in a statement, “Employers are already concerned about what they pay for health premiums, but this may be the calm before the storm, as recent inflation shows.” That big growth is imminent.”

“Given the tight labor market and rising wages, it will be harder for employers to shift costs onto workers when costs rise,” he said.

Workers at smaller firms with fewer than 200 workers paid $7,556 of their paychecks annually for family coverage in 2022 — nearly $2,000 more than workers at larger firms ($5,580).

According to government data, the annual inflation rate in September was 8.2 percent. Growth in healthcare costs (6.5%) over the past year has lagged behind overall inflation. Since 2012, the average premium for family coverage has increased by 43%, while inflation has increased by 25% and workers’ wages have increased by 38% over the same period.

mid term election

Health care costs are a top priority for voters ahead of the November 8 midterm election. According to KFF, approximately 159 million Americans rely on employer-sponsored coverage.

Across party lines, nearly nine out of 10 Americans said a candidate’s plan to reduce health care costs is “very important” or “somewhat important,” according to a separate, when casting their ballots. . Survey by West Health, a health care nonprofit, and the consulting company Gallup.

In fact, 39% of respondents said that they are likely to cross party lines to vote for a candidate if their top priority is to reduce health care costs. Gallup said Democrats and black and Hispanic Americans are more likely to prioritize affordable healthcare in their vote.

,Premium rates for employers were largely set last year – before inflation became a major concern. By far, hospitals and healthcare providers bear most of the cost. ,

Experts said premium rates for employers were largely determined last year before inflation became a major economic concern. By far, hospitals and healthcare providers bear most of the cost.

But as the renewal season begins, insurers will want to pass some of those costs on to consumers, which could eventually result in patients turning away from treatment or employers slashing benefits, analysts previously told MarketWatch. was.

Over the past year, nearly half (48%) of large employers surveyed in the KFF survey reported an increase in the share of employees using mental-health services, and more than a quarter (29%) said more workers. Mental health issues called for family leave.

KFF said a quarter (27%) of large employers added mental health providers – either in physical offices or virtually through telehealth – to the network of its plan to expand access in 2022.

Credit: www.marketwatch.com /

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