2017 Kaiser Family Foundation Survey Results

Kaiser has just published its 2017 annual benefits survey and I think the folks in Washington, D.C. all need a copy.

Approximately half of the United States’ non-elderly population gets healthcare coverage through their employer, so this survey reveals what many Americans are experiencing. While employer coverage is far better, in many respects, than the coverage available on the state healthcare exchanges, there is certainly nothing to celebrate.

Average employer-sponsored premium cost for single coverage is $6,690 and $18,764 for family coverage, annually. While the year-over-year premium cost trend has abated it still far outstrips the rate of increase of wages or inflation. Employees contribute an average of 18% towards premiums for single coverage and 31% of family costs, while employers pick up the rest.

High-deductible plans aren’t the answer either – average annual premiums for these plans are $6,024 for single and $17,581 for family. Deductibles for all cost-sharing plans average just over $1,500.

Almost 100% of firms with over 1,000 employees offer healthcare coverage, while only 40% of firms with three to nine workers offer coverage. 79% of workers at all-sized firms are actually eligible for coverage. Over the last 10 years, the percentage of employees at small firms that offer coverage dropped from 78% to 73%.

Healthcare policy in this country has done little to control costs. CNBC reported that the average family spend for unreimbursed medical costs in 2016 was $9,996. Between premiums and out-of-pocket costs, healthcare consumed over 39% of the average American family’s annual income.

Does anyone not think there is a crisis? The focus of healthcare must be changed from failing fee-for-service restorative care to an aligned incentive model to promote sustained good health. There are too many conflicts to not put the brakes on costs.

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