Workers' health insurance premiums are rising much faster than wages but not lowering out-of-pocket costs
Average annual earnings of the bottom 90 percent and premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance, 1999–2016
|Year||Average bottom 90% earnings||Family premiums||Single premiums|
Cumulative growth in total health care costs for workers covered by employer-sponsored insurance, costs paid by insurers, and costs paid out of pocket by covered households, 2006–2016
|Year||Total costs||Paid by insurer||Paid by insured household|
Notes: In the bottom panel, costs paid out of pocket by employees include deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance but do not include employee contributions toward premiums. If insurers were compensating for rising premiums by providing more comprehensive coverage, their costs paid would be rising at a faster rate, but the closeness of the lines in the graph shows that the share of medical bills paid for by insurers has not increased.
Sources: Data on ESI premiums (top panel) and cumulative growth in total health care costs (bottom panel) come from the Kaiser Family Foundation (2017) Employer Benefits Survey. Data on average annual earnings for the bottom 90 percent are author’s analysis of data from the Social Security Administration 2017, updated using the methods of Mishel and Kroeger 2016.