Not So Affordable Care: Job-based Insurance Annual Premiums Reach $20,000 Record High


So to kick off this blog I thought it would be interesting to compare a few items relevant in my own life as it relates to the article (1). It’s open enrollment with my employer and I could choose plans of up to $13,500 a year for my share for the most expensive to include vision and dental family plans. But then as a military retiree, I can forgo the employer based plans for a retired military family plan for a fraction of the cost (a benefit after 20 years of military service). Or a no cost plan through the Veterans Affairs for myself (family excluded). But then I could go on my states Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchange for a family plan that ranges from $3000 a year to $17,000 a year for my share, but this does not include vision and dental, nor the costly deductible, nor a subsidy. I then have a family member with an employer based family plan who pays $19,000 a year, or $1600 a month from their paycheck, high deductible, and they don’t qualify for subsidy with the ACA. The article references that you now have:

“Companies and their workers for the first time are shelling out more than $20,000 on average for family health benefits in 2019 (1).

So much for the ACA being affordable. I know this topic touches the nerves of a lot of people. Gone are the days where the health insurance plans are actually affordable. Where the workers average wages grew 3.4%, the average annual family premium rose 4.9% to $20,576. Imagine now, if you’re an average worker with the median household income in the United States of $56,516 (2) trying to have a decent family plan:

“Costs are prohibitive when workers ….. have to shell out $7,000 a year just for their share of family premiums (1).”

The article says that workers are increasingly picking up larger portions of the premium costs with averages up to $30%. Another article references the average 2019 health insurance premiums are $1,403 per month for families of four who don’t qualify for subsidies (3). As such:

“Low-wage employees face some of the biggest challenges affording employer coverage, according to the survey. Among companies that offer health benefits, those with workers making less than $25,000 a year provide coverage to a smaller share of employees and require them to contribute about 40% toward premiums on average. Fewer low-wage workers take up employer health benefits as a result (1).”

Now think about something else. The aforementioned costs aren’t even referencing the deductible. That’s a whole other topic and point of contention for many people. The article reports the average single coverage deductible was $1655. Another source (4) states family bronze plans have an average deductible of just under $12,200 and an average out-of-pocket maximum of nearly $14,000. Thus, health insurance has become for many people, the largest monthly expenditure. 

REFERENCES

  1. https://www.modernhealthcare.com/insurance/job-based-insurance-annual-premiums-reach-20000-record-high?utm_source=modern-healthcare-am-thursday&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20190925&utm_content=article5-headline
  2. https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/24/how-much-americans-earn-at-every-age.html
  3. https://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/families-four-face-25000-average-annual-unsubsidized-aca-costs-2019
  4. https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/01/politics/fact-check-obamacare-deductibles/index.html
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