Employer coverage cost growth slowing, but still faster than incomes

A new report by the Commonwealth Fund finds that while growth in workers’ share of employer sponsored health coverage is slowing, it still outpaces workers’ income growth. Workers’ share of single premiums grew 6.7% from 2010 to 2015 across the US while deductibles grew by 8.5%, both down from 4.2% and 9.5%, respectively from 2006 to 2010. However US median income did not keep up. In 2006, American workers’ premiums + deductibles averaged 6.5% of median incomes. By 2010 it had grown to 8.4% and by last year it was up to 10.1% of incomes. There is great variation among states in the burden of employer-sponsored coverage on incomes. Last year New Hampshire was the most costly state for employees’ share of premiums plus deductible at $7,745, followed closely by Connecticut at $7,654. Most CSG-ERC state employees’ premium share plus deductibles were higher than the US average. However, because of higher median incomes in the region, only Mainers among CSG-ERC residents averaged employee premium plus deductible costs as a percentage of income than the US average.

  Avg. employee single premium contribution annual growth, 2010-2015 Avg. annual deductible growth, 2010 to 2015 Avg employee cost premium + deductible, 2015 Avg employee cost premium + deductible as % of median income, 2015
US 4.2% 8.5% $6,422 10.1%
CT 6.9 7.6 7,654 9.5
DE 6.0 6.9 5,548 8.3
ME 1.2 9.3 7,062 11.5
MD 7.0 4.0 7,048 7.9
MA 5.8 8.7 5,677 7.3
NH 7.7 10.9 7,745 9.3
NJ 7.4 6.7 6,771 9.1
NY 6.7 8.1 6,425 9.9
PA 4.2 8.7 5,444 8.0
RI 5.5 6.5 6,165 9.3
VT 4.4 1.6 6,828 9.6

Nominations open for New England comparative effectiveness council

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review is seeking new members for the New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council, in addition to two other councils in California and the Midwest. Many health policy experts blame new technologies for drugs, devices and other innovations with driving health costs up without necessarily improving the quality of care. The Councils include leading clinician, patient and public representatives, researchers, and health economists who meet a few times a year to consider, and vote on, the effectiveness and value of new health treatments. Previous topics include treatments for liver disease, multiple myeloma, and lung cancer, as well as system-level interventions such as palliative care and diabetes prevention programs. Members must meet conflict of interest guidelines and will be reimbursed for travel to meetings and for their time. To apply, send a CV/resume and letter of interest to info@icer-review.org by December 15th. Learn more about ICER here, here and here.