The Obamacare Health Plans Now Cost Employers More Than A New Car


Rising health-care costs are eating up the wage gains won by American workers, who are being asked by their employers to pick up more of the heftier tab.

About 151 million Americans under age 65 get health insurance through their employers, making such plans the largest source of coverage in the U.S. About 18 million people buy insurance on the individual market. Despite the rapid increase in employee costs, companies may be increasingly constrained in how much of rising health costs they will be able to pass on to workers. The average cost of health coverage offered by employers pushed toward $19,000 for a family plan this year, as the share of firms providing insurance to workers continued to edge lower, according to a major survey.

The trend of relatively gradual premium increases has continued for several years, with the growth of premiums damped by a shift toward bigger out-of-pocket costs for employees in the form of high deductibles—a move that slowed this year, as average deductibles were roughly flat compared with 2016. With the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare replacement now officially dead, it appears Senate Republicans will be unable to pass a repeal-and-replace bill before the Sept. 30 deadline announced by the Senate Parliamentarian arrives – though it’s impossible to rule out another long-shot plan gaining momentum in the coming days.

After the deadline, Senate Republicans would need 60 votes for their repeal-and-replace bill, effectively killing the repeal-and-replace effort, at least for now. As Republicans struggle to fulfill their campaign promises to the American people, the Wall Street Journal has published a report showing that rising premiums are forcing some small business owners to stop offering benefits, the latest sign that Democrats ignored Republican rhetoric about the bill’s job-killing potential at their own political peril. According to WSJ, the average cost of health coverage offered by employers pushed toward $19,000 for a family plan this year, while the share of firms providing insurance to workers continued to edge lower, according to a major survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The annual premium for family coverage rose an average of 3 percent to $18,764 this year, according the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit group, which conducted the annual survey of employers. That is the sixth straight year that employer-provided policies have increased by well under 5 percent, according to the survey. Employers paid the bulk of the costs, the survey found, with workers shouldering an average of $5,714, a year for a family policy.