Family health benefits rates skyrocket

Employer-sponsored family health insurance rates surged an average of 41 percent across the country between 2003 and 2009, according to new data released by the Commonwealth Fund. The state-by-state examination discovered that total premiums for employer-sponsored family health insurance cost $13,027 nationwide.

The figure includes the combination of payments made by the employer and the employee. Maryland employees experienced some of the highest gains as premiums increased approximately 50 percent during this period. Alaska, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming ranked among those states with the highest premium increases.

According to Cathy Schoen, one of the authors of the report, premium increases vary by cost of care and payments owed to doctors, hospitals and laboratories. Healthcare costs are higher on average in wealthier areas and lower in low-income areas, Schoen added.

The Commonwealth Fund acknowledged that the rate of premium increase could slow under the healthcare overhaul, but it has yet to determine how new healthcare laws will effect costs and premiums, the Washington Post reports.

The data showed that deductibles climbed an average of 77 percent between 2003 and 2009 in large and small business. Additionally, as of 2009, 74 percent of employees pay a deductible - 22 percent higher than 2003.

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