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Study Shows Steep Rise in Health Premiums

A new study shows that the cost of health insurance for many Americans rose sharply this year compared to previous years, exceeding average increases in workers’ wages and giving employers even more hesitation about hiring new people.

The study, released by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, shows that employers paid an average annual premium of $15,000 for family coverage for workers in 2011, a 9 percent increase over last year and more than twice what employers paid on average 10 years ago. –BF

The New York Times:

The steep increase in rates is particularly unwelcome at a time when the economy is still sputtering and unemployment continues to hover at about 9 percent. Many businesses cite the high cost of coverage as a factor in their decision not to hire, and health insurance has become increasingly unaffordable for more Americans. Over all, the cost of family coverage has about doubled since 2001, when premiums averaged $7,061, compared with a 34 percent gain in wages over the same period.

How much the new federal health care law pushed by President Obama is affecting insurance rates remains a point of debate, with some analysts suggesting that insurers have raised prices in anticipation of new rules that would, in 2012, require them to justify any increase of more than 10 percent.

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