KFF: Employer-Sponsored Premiums up only 3% this year

Hat Tip To: 
Alan D., others

This is very good news all around. Not only is a 3% increase pretty small, it's a dramatic reversal of typical increase prior to the ACA kicking in in 2010:

Menlo Park, Calif. – Average annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $16,834 this year, up 3 percent from last year, continuing a recent trend of modest increases, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) 2014 Employer Health Benefits Survey released today. Workers on average pay $4,823 annually toward the cost of family coverage this year.

This year’s increase continues a recent trend of moderate premium growth. Premiums increased more slowly over the past five years than the preceding five years (26 percent vs. 34 percent) and well below the annual double-digit increases recorded in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  This year’s increase also is similar to the year-to-year rise in worker’s wages (2.3 percent) and general inflation (2 percent).

There's a whole section which goes into the impact of the ACA on this trend:

Implications of the Affordable Care Act for Employer Coverage

Starting next year, employers with at least 100 full-time equivalent workers could face penalties if they do not offer health benefits and their workers obtain subsidized coverage through the new health insurance exchanges. The survey finds the vast majority (94 percent) of employers with at least 100 workers already offer health benefits to at least some of their workers. In 2016, employers with at least 50 workers will be subject to these penalties.

Among employers with fewer than 50 workers, 52 percent offer health benefits. Since most employers nationally are small, this group drives the overall offer rate for employers, which stands at 55 percent this year, similar to the 57 percent recorded last year.

Firms that do not offer health benefits to their workers most often cite cost-related reasons, though one in 10 cite the coverage available to workers through the ACA insurance exchanges as a factor.