Low-wage workers tend to pay more for less-robust health insurance coverage, according to a new survey. For family health care plans, employees at lower-wage companies paid an average of $700 more per year, despite the typical policy for these workers being worth $1,000 less than average.
Overall, job-based health insurance premiums continued to rise in 2012, up 4 percent for family insurance plans and 3 percent for employee-only coverage.
“It’s historically a very moderate increase in premiums,” said Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which conducted the survey with the Health Research & Educational Trust.
But even a moderate increase feels really big to workers when their wages are flat or falling,” said Altman. The rise in premiums easily outpaced workers’ raises and inflation.
The average premium for family coverage is now $15,745. Overall, workers pay an average of $4,300, while employers pick up the rest of the tab. Workers at low-wage companies, however, pay an average premium of $4,977 for family coverage.
The average premium for employee-only health care plans is $5,615, with the employee covering about $950.
In the past three years, premiums rose nearly $2,400 for job-based family coverage and nearly $800 for employee-only coverage. In 2011 alone, premiums rose an average of 9 percent.
Wednesday Quick Hits:
• Delay retirement until 7o? Try 84. So says Jack VanDerhei, research director at the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute. Data from EBRI suggests the retirement outlook for many Americans is less optimistic than some surveys suggest. For those in the lowest quarter of incomes, working until at least age 84 would be necessary for retirement security.
• Bill Murray gets good reviews as FDR. In the new film Hyde Park On Hudson, the 61-year-old actor best known for his comedic roles tackles Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Critics are already talking about Murray’s turn as the 32nd U.S. president earning “awards season traction.”
• L’Oreal gets warned about anti-aging cream. Use it nightly and it will “boost the activity of your genes” and “stimulate cell regeneration,” the label says — but not for long. Federal regulators warned Lancome and parent company L’Oreal that it must stop using language portraying its skin creams as having medical properties.