A survey by an Iowa consulting firm finds the cost of health insurance premiums for businesses and workers increased nearly 11-percent from 2005 to 2006. David Lind, president of David Lind and Associates, says his company surveyed just over 900 businesses with 10 employees or more.

He says the average premium rate paid by employers was 331 dollars per single rate per month and about 807 per family per month. The average employee contribution was a little over 60 dollars for single coverage, and about 277 dollars per month for family coverage.

Lind says the balance between what companies pay and employees pay for their insurance has stayed pretty steady. Lind says the employer is still paying a “very fair percentage of the premium cost for both single and family coverage.” He says the employee portion has not risen that much, and if anything, it has gone down a little bit.

Lind says the biggest reason for the increases in insurance premiums is higher costs due to people being overweight, or smoking or other bad habits. Lind says health care costs are directly attributed to 60 or 70-percent of lifestyle reasons.

Lind says there is good news as this year’s increase is following a downtrend. He says in 2002-2003 the average premium increase in Iowa was nearly 19-percent, and last year the increase was 12-point-four-percent, compared to 10-point-eight percent this year. Lind says the increases and getting smaller. Lind says insurance costs tend to be cyclical and we’re on the downward trend and could see just single digit increases in rates next year.