Sep 25, 2019 - Economy

Employer health plans are getting pricier and skimpier

Adapted from the Kaiser Family Foundation; Chart: Axios Visuals
Adapted from the Kaiser Family Foundation; Chart: Axios Visuals

The average cost of family health insurance offered by companies climbed 5% this year, exceeding $20,000 for the first time, according to the newest annual survey of employer health benefits from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The bottom line: Employer health coverage continues to get more expensive and less comprehensive for workers — all coming at the expense of people's paychecks.

By the numbers: KFF's survey, considered to be a gold standard for data on employer-based health plans, sampled more than 2,000 different companies.

  • The average family plan premium in 2019 totaled $20,576. Employers paid for 71% of that cost, down slightly from 72% in 2018.
  • The average premium for single workers was $7,188. Employers covered 83% of that cost, up slightly from 81% in 2018.

The intrigue: Workers aren't just paying more in monthly premiums. Employers continue to raise the average deductibles, which means more workers are paying for more of their care out of pocket later into the year.

  • Workers' earnings rose 26% from 2009 to 2019. Deductibles soared 162% in the same time span.

The big picture: Many Democratic candidates have advocated for preserving employer-based health insurance despite the rising costs, higher deductibles and large tax breaks.

Go deeper: Millions of workers lose or change health plans every year

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