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Newsflash: The Sky is Not Falling

The annual survey of employer health benefits by the Kaiser Family Foundation for 2014 reports the following:

  • The average premium for employee only coverage increased 2%; the average premium for family coverage increased 3%, and the average worker’s wages increased by 2.3%.
  • Covered workers pay 18% on average as their share of individual coverage and 29% of family coverage.
  • The rates of employer offer, and employee take-up are statistically unchanged.
  • 25% of large employers now offer retiree health benefits – statistically unchanged.
  • More employers (a third) are offering wellness programs and incentives, more (19%) are offering high performance tiered networks; more (13%) are considering private exchanges, but only 3% are offering them; more (12%) are offering reference pricing; more (8%) are offering narrow networks.

On the other hand over the last 15 years, employer coverage has been decaying

  • The rate of employer offering has fallen from 68% to 55%.
  • Employee contributions towards coverage have increased at 4 times greater than employee wages.
  • The percent of workers covered through their jobs fell from 70% to 62%.
  • Large employers’ offer rates of retiree health benefits fell from 40% to 25%.

In other words, reform was needed, and to date the ACA appears to be working for the American workers and their employers. These are good building blocks, but it’s far too soon to pop the champagne.

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