Health insurance premiums will rise 60% in this decade, feds predict

Health insurance premiums will rise 60% in this decade, feds predict
February 18 01:00 2016

The feds have new long-term projections on health insurance costs, and they’re not looking pretty.

By 2025, the Congressional Budget Office predicts, premiums for job-based health insurance will rise about 60 percent, to $10,000 for singles and to $24,500 for families.

That’s roughly the same rate they’ve been rising at since 2009, the agency said — and it outstrips income gains by about 2 percent a year.

Bleak as that picture is, the reality that individual businesses will likely face is more volatile.

“They’re just getting whacked,” said Diane Hess, interim executive director of the Lancaster-based Business Group on Health. “There is no slowdown in sight.”

The nonprofit’s annual survey of Lancaster County businesses found that, in 2015, average premiums rose 34 percent for singles and 23 percent for families here.

Hess also noted that last year’s surge here, which businesses attribute to the Affordable Care Act, pushed job-based premiums significantly above the national average to $7,884 for singles and $19,692 for families.

“The positive thing that Obamacare did was expand health insurance coverage,” she said. “But it really hasn’t done anything to address the cost issues of coverage.”

Antoinette Kraus, executive director of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, also said that the focus in health care now needs to be lowering costs.

“We focus less on cost effective measures and have a health system that has a lack of transparency and information on prices and quality,” she said. “We need to start developing systems that reward value over volume and focus on systems that develop tools and coordination for consumers.”

Kraus also noted that Pennsylvania is taking part in the federal State Innovation Models initiative on health care, and expressed hope that those efforts will be successful. ..

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