Summary: Job-based health insurance premiums increased twice as fast as inflation over the past year, despite 2020 being a year of very low medical payouts and very high profits for insurers. Both employees and employers continue to struggle with the current work-based system. It’s time to separate insurance from the workplace.
2021 Employer Health Benefits Survey
Kaiser Family Foundation
November 11, 2021
In 2021, the average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance are $7,739 for single coverage and $22,221 for family coverage. The average single and family premiums increased 4% over the past year. During this period, workers’ wages increased 5% and inflation increased 1.9%.
The average premium for family coverage has increased 22% over the last five years and 47% over the last ten years.
Most covered workers make a contribution toward the cost of the premium for their coverage. On average, covered workers contribute 17% of the premium for single coverage and 28% of the premium for family coverage. Covered workers in small firms on average contribute a higher percentage of the premium for family coverage than covered workers in large firms (24% vs. 37%). Covered workers in firms with a relatively large share of lower-wage workers have higher average contribution rates for family coverage than those in firms with a smaller share of lower-wage workers (35% vs. 27%).
Comment by: Eagan Kemp
Every year we see the cost of insurance go up for working families and businesses of all sizes. The most recent increases highlight that even after a year where many insurers were able to avoid major health costs because many people were forced to put off elective care, insurers are still massively raising rates.
With more than 155 million Americans at the whim of employer-sponsored insurance, it is no wonder people are fed up with the current system and demanding Medicare for All. Seeing more and more of your paycheck eaten up by the cost of health care is depressing enough, without knowing that it is primarily lining the pockets of corporate CEOs making tens of millions of dollars a year while denying Americans the care that they need.
And as the recent fight of Biden’s Build Back Better Act showed, corporations are more than willing to throw around cash to stop reforms that would make it cheaper and easier for people to get the care they need.
These growing costs aren’t hurting just families, they are making it harder for businesses that are already struggling with the losses sustained due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a key reason more business leaders are banding together to fight for Medicare for All.
The only people that want to keep the status quo are those that are profiting from it. It is time to put people over profit by making Medicare for All the law of the land.