That, in just a few words, is the conclusion reached in a new Commonwealth Fund report released this week. Though the cost of health care, which had been increasingly rapidly over the past decade, has slowed a bit in the past couple years, employees don’t seem to be feeling the benefit.
According to the report, which examines insurance premiums and plan design over the past decade, “monthly premiums continue to outpace growth in salaries and wages” and workers “are also being increasingly directed to high-deductible health plans.” Since 2003, employer-sponsored family premiums have risen 73% while single premiums have gone up 60%.
These findings are further evidence that employer-sponsored group health insurance could be hurting some employees, who would likely qualify for premium tax credits and possibly cost-sharing subsidies if the employer plan were not in place. Families with incomes up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level qualify for government assistance to help pay for their health insurance premiums in the individual market, and those earning less than 250% of the FPL could qualify for cost-sharing reductions that limit their out-of-pocket exposure. Unfortunately, as brokers know all too well, employers who offer group health coverage block their employees and employees’ family members from a government tax credit.
So, to summarize…
Clearly, many employers don’t understand that they might be hurting their employees. Perhaps someone should tell them. And offer a solution.