Apr 2, 2019

Premium growth is swallowing income growth in many states

The financial burden of insurance premiums is growing, especially in sparsely populated states in the South, West and Northeast, according to a new analysis by the Leonard David Institute of Health Economics and United States of Care.

The big picture: Premiums are eating up an increasingly big share of workers' paychecks. And this analysis doesn't include out-of-pocket spending, which is rising even faster.

Between the lines: In 2016, the average national premium for a family plan ate up 30% of median income, including both the employer and employee share. That's up from 28% in 2010.

  • Louisiana had the highest cost burden in 2016, with 37.1% of income going toward premiums. Minnesota had the lowest, at 24.4%.
  • Nationally, premiums grew by 27.7% between 2010 and 2016, while income grew by 19.8%.
  • Most economists view the employer share of premiums as lost wages for workers.

The bottom line: All trends point to health care becoming only more expensive for workers and employers. And the more both groups are forced to pay, the more poignant a political issue it becomes.

Go deeper: Health care costs are skyrocketing, and wiping out wage increases

Go deeper

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."

Situational awareness

Warren Buffett. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Warren Buffett releases annual letter, reassures investors about future of Berkshire Hathaway
  2. Greyhound bars immigration sweeps
  3. U.S. military officially stops offensive operations in Afghanistan
  4. America's future looks a lot like Nevada
  5. Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

America's future looks a lot like Nevada

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Today's Nevada caucus will foreshadow the future of American politics well beyond 2020.

Why it matters: The U.S. is in the midst of a demographic transformation, and the country's future looks a lot like Nevada's present. Today's results, in addition to shaping the 2020 race, will help tell us where politics is headed in a rapidly changing country.