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Higher Premiums Burden Already Strained Families

A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that the average annual health insurance premiums were $5,429 for single coverage and $15,073 for family coverage in 2011. This marks an 8% and 9% increase from 2010 respectively, which was a significant jump from the 3% increase between 2009-2010. The cost of family coverage has almost doubled since 2001, while wages only increased by a third, putting financial strains on an already burdened family.

Premium increases also affected employers, who pay the majority of costs, who claim the cost of coverage as a factor in their decision not to hire employees. In 2011, only 59% of small firms (3-199 employees) provided health benefits, compared to 68% in 2010.

While the premium increases could be attributed to health reform legislation, KFF estimates that 1-2% of the increase is related to reform provisions, such as dependent coverage and preventive services like mammograms.

AB 52 (Feuer), which would provide state regulators the power to reject excessive rate increases, has recently been pulled from consideration and may be reintroduced in the next legislative session.

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