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Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Health insurance provided by employers this year cost an average of $22,200 for families and $7,700 for individuals, a 4% increase from a year ago, according to new survey data from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Why it matters: While many people lost their jobs and health insurance during the pandemic, most companies didn't rock the boat heading into 2021. But even a relatively modest increase in the already high costs of job-based insurance means workers and families continue to pay a lot more for their health care.

The big picture: The 4% increase in health insurance premiums was the same as last year, but it still outpaced inflation, according to KFF.

  • Premiums almost always rise faster than the growth in workers' wages, but that gap went away for this year.
  • However, any gains in people's paychecks were still completely offset by higher insurance costs.

By the numbers: 155 million people get their health coverage from an employer plan.

  • Employers are still paying for almost 75% of the premiums, a cost that is mostly invisible to workers except if they notice it on tax forms.
  • People who work at smaller companies continue to shoulder higher percentages of their premiums and have higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, according to the survey data.

The bottom line: "Despite pandemic uncertainties in the labor market and health care use, employer health benefit programs have not experienced big changes," KFF analysts wrote in an accompanying article in Health Affairs.

  • But employer coverage remains expensive because of the high prices coming from hospitals, doctors, drug companies, and other health care entities.

Go deeper

11 hours ago - Health

Cigna backs Bright Health as part of $750 million fundraise

Cigna is investing in Bright Health. Photo: Brad Horrigan/Hartford Courant/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Bright Health, the parent company of a health insurer and physician clinics, has raised $750 million from Cigna's venture capital arm — a new investor for the company — and longtime investor New Enterprise Associates.

Why it matters: Cigna, one of the largest national health insurers, is putting a lot of money into a company that is a competitor but also a possible purchaser of Cigna's extra health services.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Americans shrug off Omicron, Axios-Ipsos poll finds — CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise."
  2. Vaccines: Omicron gives a shot to boosters — U.S. announces $400M for global COVID vaccine distribution — Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down.
  3. States: Gov. Hochul will order some NY hospitals to halt elective surgeries — Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers.
  4. World: EU drug regulator backs mixing COVID vaccines — Poor global equity likely in COVID pill access — CDC raises travel advisories for France, Portugal to highest level amid COVID surge.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Tina Reed, author of Vitals
17 hours ago - Health

Omicron gives a shot to boosters

Expand chart
Data: CDC; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Vaccination rates have ticked higher since the discovery of the Omicron variant, CDC data shows.

By the numbers: The seven-day average for vaccinations in the U.S. reached about 1.8 million on Monday, up from an average of about 1.3 million a month ago.