Health insurance costs for Americans who get their coverage through work continued a relentless march upward with average family premiums rising 4% to $21,342 this year, according to a study published Thursday.

The annual survey by KFF found workers on average are paying nearly $5,600 this year toward family coverage, up from about $4,000 in 2010 and $1,600 in 2000. (KHN is an editorially independent program of KFF.)

While health insurance costs rose a modest amount in 2020, as has been the trend in recent years, they soared 55% in the past decade — more than twice the pace of inflation and wages.

About 157 million Americans rely on employer-sponsored coverage — far more than any other type of coverage, including Medicare, Medicaid and individually purchased insurance on the Affordable Care Act exchanges. More than half of employers provide insurance to at least some workers.

“Conducted partly before the pandemic, our survey shows the burden of health costs on workers remains high, though not getting dramatically worse,” Drew Altman, KFF’s CEO, said in a statement. “Things may look different moving forward as employers grapple with the economic and health upheaval sparked by the pandemic.”

The survey was conducted from January to July as the coronavirus pandemic took hold and upended the nation’s economy. Many of the details of the employers’ plans that the researchers examined were set before the virus hit.

Since 2012, the cost of family coverage has increased 3% to 5% annually. It’s been more than 15 years since these costs were rising at double-digit rates.

Employers help shield workers from much of the cost of their health insurance premiums, though employees often feel the impact via higher deductibles, copayments and lower wages.

On average, workers pay 17% of the premium for single coverage and 27% for family

If the Affordable Care Act(ACA), (aka Obamacare), is struck down:
1. As many as 133 million Americans — roughly half the population under the age of 65 — have pre-existing medical conditions that could disqualify them from buying a health insurance policy or cause them to pay significantly higher premiums if the health law were overturned.
2. What’s a pre-existing condition? Common ailments such as high blood pressure or asthma, any of which could require those buying insurance on their own to pay much more for a policy, if they could get one at all.
3. And!… The coronavirus, which has infected nearly seven million Americans to date, could also be cut out of getting insurance coverage
4. And, 54 million people have conditions serious enough that insurers would outright deny them coverage if the A.C.A. were not in effect.

Why every single American should care:
1. Under the A.C.A., no one can be denied coverage under any circumstance, and insurance companies cannot retroactively cancel a policy.

What to do? Protect this policy. Make your voice heard. Your family will thank you. Your pocketbook will thank you. (Insurance companies will not thank you!)

Personally, I think this work reveals only the tip of the iceberg of the immense disparity there is in #healthcare access, quality and outcomes with regard to race/ethnicity. Importantly, significant evidence supports that this relationship is also highly associated with #socioeconomicstatus. Given that Latino and Black populations face significant disparities in income, employment, and ultimately wealth, it tells us there is more more work to do.

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