Annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose 5% to an average $20,576 this year, according to the 2019 Benchmark Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Employer Health Benefits Survey.

KFF conducted the annual employer survey between January and July 2019 by surveying 2,012 randomly selected, non-federal public and private firms with three or more employees that responded to the full survey. An additional 2,383 firms responded to a single question about offering coverage.

On average, workers this year are contributing $6,015 toward the cost of family coverage, with employers paying the rest, KFF says.

Workers’ wages rose 3.4% and inflation rose 2% over the same period.

KFF found that despite the nation’s strong economy and low unemployment, over time, the amount employers and workers pay toward premiums continues to rise more quickly than workers’ wages and inflation. 

Since 2009, average family premiums have increased 54% and workers’ contribution have increased 71%, several times more quickly than wages (26%) and inflation (20%).

Currently, 82% of covered workers have a deductible in their plan, similar to last year and up from 63% a decade ago. The average single deductible now stands at $1,655 for workers who have one, similar to last year’s $1,573 average, but up sharply from the $826 average of a decade ago. These two trends result in a 162% total increase in the burden of deductibles across all covered workers over the past decade.

More than a quarter (28%) of all covered workers, including nearly half (45%) of those at small employers with fewer than 200 employees, are now enrolled in plans with a deductible of at least $2,000 – almost four times the percentage of those who had to meet similarly high deductibles in 2009. 

One in eight (13%) now face deductibles of at least $3,000.

Approximately 153 million Americans rely on employer-sponsored coverage, KFF said. However, for many employed in low-wage jobs, universal healthcare coverage is just not affordable, and has gotten even less affordable since 2017, when Congress eliminated the tax penalty for people not insured under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

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