While employer insurance cost growth slowed, workers' incomes did not keep pace with their premium costs and deductibles, according to a new study by the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund.
For the study, researchers set out to compare cost growth in employer-sponsored health insurance before and after 2010, when the ACA was enacted, and to compare changes in these costs relative to changes in employees' incomes. They analyzed federal Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data to compare cost trends over the 10-year period from 2006 to 2015.
The study found premium growth for single health insurance policies offered by employers slowed both in the nation overall and in 33 states and Washington, D.C., after the ACA was enacted, compared to the five years leading up to the ACA.
The study's authors highlighted a similar slowdown in growth in the amounts employees contribute to health plan costs. For single-person plans, or those covering only the employee and not any family members, average premium growth rates slowed to 3.8 percent per year from 2010 to 2015 compared with an average 4.7 percent from 2006 to 2010, according to the study.
But the study found the slowdown in employer insurance cost growth does not mean families have avoided the pinch. Employee contributions to premiums and deductibles amounted to 10.1 percent of U.S. median income in 2015, compared to 6.5 percent in 2006, researchers said. These costs, they said, are higher relative to income in many southeastern and southern states, where incomes are below the national average.
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