A report issued today by "Families U.S.A." says wage increases in Iowa continue to lag behind rising insurance premiums. Families U.S.A. executive director, Ron Pollack, talked about the details of the numbers.
Pollack says family health coverage annual insurance premiums through an employer in the 2000-2007 period rose from $6,487 dollars to $11,194 — an increase of $4,707 dollars or 72.6%. Pollack says increases in wages lagged behind the big increases in insurance premiums over the same period.
He says the median earnings of Iowa’s workers increased from $22,147 to $26,247, or an increase of 18.5%. Pollack says the increase in insurance premiums coincided with a drop in service. Pollack says the premiums actually purchased "thinner" coverage, or coverage that had fewer benefits with higher deductibles, higher co-payments and co-insurance. "In other words, people in Iowa are paying more and more, and receiving, less and less," Pollack says.
Pollack says the cost paid by employers and workers for insurance both rose, but the increase wasn’t balanced. He says the employer’s portion of annual premiums in the 2000-2007 period rose by 68.3%, while the workers portion increased by 86.7%. Pollack says the report raises concerns about healthcare coverage in the wake of slow wage growth and job loses.
"A bad situation is clearly growing worse," Pollack says, "if this troubling trend continues, the healthcare affordability crisis will get much worse, and many more Iowans will become uninsured and underinsured. If earnings continue to lag behind fast rising health care costs, Iowans will face diminished economic and health security."
Pollack says this is just one more reason why health care is going to be one of the top issues on the minds of voters when they go to the polls in November. A copy of the report is available on the Families U.S.A. website .