National, Local Health Insurance Premiums Increase

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In a report published jointly by The Kaiser Family Foundation and The Health Research & Educational Trust in October of 2012, organizations were asked about a number of practices and metrics related to employer provided health benefits. Participants indicated that their health insurance premiums for 2012 increased by approximately 4% nationally over 2011. More specifically, single coverage cost 3% more than in 2011 and family coverage cost 4% more. The report, 2012 Annual Employer Health Benefits Survey, notes that differences based on company size and geography have the most significant variation in the health insurance premiums reported.

A more local analysis of the current state of employer provided health benefits lends additional support to this claim with Northeast Ohio organizations facing much higher than 4% increases. Of the 100 organizations participating in the ERC/Smart Business Workplace Practices Survey, the average size was only 143 employees. With an average increase of just over 10% among a sample of 100 Northeast Ohio organizations, the size of the organizations surveyed may be contributing to these higher premiums.

In terms of the proportion of the premium cost passed onto employees, the Smart Business Survey results fall somewhere in between the single (18%) and family (28%) coverage reported nationally at 24.9%.

Interestingly although premiums are clearly increasing more quickly locally than is reported by the national sample, the percentage of employers offering health insurance benefits to their employees in the Midwest region is actually 4% higher than the national average of 61% reported by the Employer Health Benefits Survey.