While health care costs are bounding higher every year, a study finds Nebraskans 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.
“The premiums went up by almost 50% which is tracking the national rate,” Schoen says. “Nebraska averages are a bit below with the total cost of family coverage coming in at just over $13,000 a year.”
The national average is now around $13,800, according to the study, which looked at the years 2003 through 2010.
While it may be somewhat comforting to know Nebraskans 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. She says premiums went up more than 50% over the seven years.
“Premium costs have gone up far faster than average incomes, middle class incomes in Nebraska,” Schoen says. “Very few people in Nebraska got a 50% wage increase during that seven years. And people are paying more. Their take-home pay is down because their share of premiums is up while it’s buying less protection.”
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.
She says, “Deductibles more than doubled and small employers in Nebraska, it about doubled so that more of the medical care costs are being paid directly out of pocket than they were seven years ago.”
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