Americans’ wages are still failing to keep pace with the rising cost of their health insurance, but employer-sponsored coverage costs grew more slowly this year, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation.
The average premium for a family health care plan cost $15,745 this year, up 4 percent from last year, but lower than the 9 percent increase between 2010 and 2011. Premiums for individuals cost $5,615 on average.
Health care costs have taken a toll on Americans’ personal finances over the last decade, with premiums nearly doubling while wages grew by only 33 percent since 2002.
President Obama’s administration acknowledged the news is disappointing, but promised that once the major provisions of his 2010 health care law go into effect, they’ll begin to curb health care costs as the president has promised.
“We certainly aren’t happy to see any increase in health insurance premiums, and we look forward to when the provisions of the Affordable Care Act go into effect — which will reduce premiums for American consumers and businesses,” said Gary Cohen, who directs the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Department of Health and Human Services.
And he said he’s encouraged that costs have slowed down in recent years — although most analysts attribute that to the effects of the recession.
“We’re heartened by the fact that the increase over the past year was the lowest we’ve seen in decades,” Mr. Cohen said.