While health care costs are bounding higher every year, a study finds Iowans are paying slightly less than most Americans for their health insurance premiums. Cathy Schoen, report author and senior vice president of The Commonwealth Fund, says they studied the amounts being paid for both single and family health care packages.
“This is what employers are paying as well as employees, so it’s job-based coverage,” Schoen says. “The Iowa average is somewhat below the national average, $13,200 for a family plan — that’s the total annual cost compared to about $13,800 for the nation.”
While it may be somewhat comforting to know Iowans aren’t having to shell out quite as much as their neighbors in other states, Schoen says working families’ budgets are under stress all across the nation.
“Iowa looks just like the country in terms of rapid increases,” Schoen says. “Premiums have gone up, over 50% just in the seven years we’ve looked at, 2003 to 2010. At this time, the Iowa incomes, middle incomes have not gone up, in fact, they’re just about where they were seven years ago.”
She says consumer aggravation is understandable because premiums continue to skyrocket while incomes are stagnant. Plus, Schoen says deductibles are rising, too, often for packages that offer less protection.
“People are paying more,” Schoen says. “The share that people pay of their premium has increased a lot. It’s about a 73% increase, because Iowa families are actually paying, on average, a bit more of their share of the premiums than the employers. The employers dropped.”
The report from the private, New York-based foundation says health insurance costs are outpacing family income growth in every state in the country, while out-of-pocket costs are rising and premiums are buying less. It found the annual amount employees were asked to pay toward family health insurance had risen to an average of $3,721 a year and per-person deductibles increased an average of 98%.
Learn more at: “www.commonwealthfund.org“