The weak economy, which has reduced healthcare service utilization, is cited as the leading contributor to moderate growth in health insurance premiums by the Kaiser Family Foundation in its Employer Health Benefits Survey.
Commercial payers don't make much of a scapegoat for climbing healthcare costs based on the current trajectory of health insurance premiums.
Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage increased by 4% in 2013 to $16,351, according to the 2013 Employer Health Benefits Survey released Tuesday by Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust.
Employees pay about 28% or $4,565 of the annual premium cost in 2013, up from $4,316 in 2012.
But in describing the cost increase as "historically moderate and good news," Drew Altman, PhD, Kaiser Foundation president and CEO, added that the American people don't "ever share this sense of moderation. I think that is because over time, what people pay for healthcare has significantly eclipsed increases in their wages and inflation."
Since 2003, healthcare premiums have increased 80%, nearly three times as fast as wages (31%) and inflation (27%).