Jul 11, 2018

Employers’ health costs are rising slowly

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Data: Mercer; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Employers’ health care costs rose by an average of just 2.6% last year, according to data from benefits consulting firm Mercer.

Why it matters: Employer-based insurance is the dominant form of coverage in the U.S., and most people who have it aren’t experiencing big premium increases.

Yes, but: Employers have kept premium increases in check partly by raising deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. And the 2.6% average increase masks a lot of variation: Roughly a third of companies with fewer than 500 employees saw their costs rise by double digits.

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Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill

Glenn Fine, acting Pentagon watchdog

President Trump on Monday replaced the Pentagon's acting Inspector General Glenn Fine, who had been selected to chair the panel overseeing the rollout of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed last month, Politico first reported.

Why it matters: A group of independent federal watchdogs selected Fine to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, but Fine's removal from his Pentagon job prevents from being able to serve in that position — since the law only allows sitting inspectors general to fill the role.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 1,365,004— Total deaths: 76,507 — Total recoveries: 292,467Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 369,069 — Total deaths: 11,018 — Total recoveries: 20,003Map.
  3. Trump administration latest: Peter Navarro warned White House colleagues in late January about the massive potential risks from the coronavirus.
  4. Federal government latest: The public wants the federal government, not states, in charge of coronavirus — Testing capacity is still lagging far enough behind demand.
  5. States update: New York death toll surged to its highest one-day total as state predicts a plateau in hospitalizations.
  6. 2020 update: Wisconsin Supreme Court blocks the governor's attempt to delay in-person primary voting until June.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Cuomo projects plateau in hospitalizations as coronavirus deaths surge

As the New York death toll surged to its highest one-day total on Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo projected that the state is reaching a plateau in coronavirus hospitalizations due to strict social distancing measures.

The big picture: Daily ICU admissions, intubations and the three-day hospitalization rate have all decreased, Cuomo said Tuesday. The daily death toll jumped by 731 to 5,489 — the "largest single-day increase" — but Cuomo cautioned that number of deaths is a "lagging indicator" due to the length that most critical patients are in the hospital for.

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