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Expand chart
Reproduced from Kaiser Family Foundation 2018 Employer Health Benefits Survey; Note: Average general annual deductibles are for single coverage; Chart: Axios Visuals

Every year, health care takes a little bigger bite out of workers' bottom lines. Slowly but surely, it has eaten up all of the average workers' wage increases — and then some.

The big picture: Overall, the cost of employer-based health benefits is growing pretty modestly from year to year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation's annual review of those plans. But over the past 10 years, employees have ended up covering more of their own health care bills out of pocket — especially through deductibles. Those costs are rising faster than inflation and faster than wages.

By the numbers: For single coverage — a plan that just covers you, no family members — employees are paying an average of about $1,200 per year in premiums. That’s 65% more than what they paid in 2008.

  • The bigger story is deductibles — the amount you have to pay before your insurance kicks in — which are growing in every way.
  • The number of employees who have a deductible is up. The size of the average deductible is up — 212% since 2008, to be precise. And the number of employees with above-average deductibles is also up.
  • The increases in premiums and deductibles both outstrip increases in wages.

Between the lines: As deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs rise, more patients are more attuned to the high costs of care.

  • The underlying cost of health care services is growing relatively slowly right now, compared to historical trends.
  • But there’s a sense, at least among some liberal-leaning health care experts, that employers have just about maxed out their ability to shift more costs onto employees — meaning that once price increases start to pick up steam again, businesses and workers will both feel the pain quickly.

Go deeper

Updated 56 seconds ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump’s friends worry legal pick for N.Y. case lacks experience

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Close associates and advisers to Donald Trump tell Axios they're concerned by his decision to use a relatively inexperienced New Jersey attorney, Alina Habba, in his high-stakes legal fight against New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Why it matters: A former president typically has access to the country's most prestigious experts, including lawyers. Trump has turned to the former general counsel for a parking garage company, who works from a small law office near his Bedminster, N.J., country club.

U.S. charges 4 Belarus officials with air piracy in journalist's arrest

A Boeing 737-8AS Ryanair passenger planefrom Athens, Greece, that was diverted to Minsk, Belarus, in May. Photo: Petras Malukas/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department on Thursday charged four Belarusian government officials with conspiracy to commit aircraft piracy as part of an operation to arrest a dissident Belarusian journalist.

Why it matters: Prosecutors say the officials fabricated a bomb threat aboard a Ryanair flight carrying the journalist Raman Pratasevich last May, forcing it to land in Minsk, Belarus instead.

18 mins ago - World

What Putin's Ukraine options look like

Putin confers with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty

The Biden administration is framing Russian escalation in Ukraine as almost a foregone conclusion, but the Russians are still at the table and Vladimir Putin may be seeking concessions from the West rather than a military confrontation with Kyiv.

Driving the news: Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who will meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov tomorrow in Geneva, contended in a speech Thursday from Berlin that Putin's intentions are clear: "He's laying the groundwork for an invasion because he doesn’t believe Ukraine is a sovereign nation."