Oct 27, 2022 - Health

Insurance premiums stayed stable in 2022, study finds

Average annual health insurance premiums for employer-sponsored coverage
Data: Kaiser Family Foundation; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

It cost an average of $22,463 to cover a family through employer-sponsored health insurance in 2022, according to an annual benefits survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation that found premiums remained relatively flat year-to-year while wages and inflation surged.

Why it matters: Nearly 159 million Americans get health coverage through work, and coverage costs and benefits have become a critical factor in a tight labor market.

  • While families and individuals paid similar amounts for coverage in 2022 and 2021, premiums have increased by 20% over the past five years, KFF said.
  • And because many premiums for 2022 were finalized in the fall of 2021, before the effects of inflation were clear, KFF expects a higher increase in average premiums for 2023 than what's been observed in recent years.
  • A single person paid $7,911 on premiums in a year for their employer health plan in 2022.

Between the lines: Employers are making tough choices in a competitive labor market and in some instances, absorbing rising costs of coverage instead of passing them on to workers.

  • An October survey of 1,200 small businesses found that nearly half of them have increased the cost of their goods or services to offset rising costs of health care. Four in 10 businesses surveyed stopped offering health insurance altogether.
  • The cost of care is expected to continue to increase in the coming years, putting added pressure on employers to offer competitive benefits packages.
  • Employer-sponsored plans have seen increased demand for mental health services, and 44% of companies surveyed with 200 or more employees offered mental health or self-care apps as benefits, accompanying research in Health Affairs says.
  • Covered workers are picking up a portion of the cost when they visit in-network physicians: Average copayments were $27 for primary care and $44 for specialty care, and there was even more cost-sharing for hospital admissions or outpatient procedures.
  • A large majority of firms with 50 or more employees cover some telemedicine in their largest health plan.

What's next: Premiums are likely to surge next year as inflation persists.

"Premium increases may be even higher than the 3–4 percentage points that we have seen in recent years," the Health Affairs study authors write.

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