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Utahns' incomes can't keep up with insurance costs

Published December 13, 2012 9:28 am

Health • Study says premiums rose a few times faster than Utah wages in 2003-2011.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The average premium for employer-sponsored family health insurance rose 61 percent in Utah from 2003 to 2011, taking a bigger bite out of household incomes, according to a report from a nonprofit health care research group.

Annual premiums for family plans jumped from $8,349 to $13,455 during the nine-year period, the Commonwealth Fund said. Across the U.S., family premiums rose 62 percent, from $9,249 to $15,022.

Premiums for single Utahns rose 37 percent, from $3,352 in 2003 to $4,597 last year, the New York-based fund said. There was no comparable U.S. figure.

Health insurance as a percent of Utah's median income increased from less than 14 percent in 2003 to between 17 percent and 19.9 percent.

Nationally, the report found that workers are also paying more out of pocket, as employee payments for their share of health insurance premiums rose an average of 74 percent. Deductibles more than doubled, up 117 percent from 2003 to 2011.

"Wherever you live in the United States, health insurance is expensive, and for many middle- as well as low-income families it is becoming ever less affordable," said Cathy Schoen, lead author of the report. —

Utah health insurance premiums spiked between 2003 and 2011

Average family premium in 2003: • $8,349

Average family premium in 2011 •$13,455

Median family income in 2003 • $61,200

Median family income in 2011 • $73,460

Family premium as a percent of family median income in 2003 • 13.6 percent

Family premium as a percent of family median income in 2011 • 18.3 percent

Source: Commonwealth Fund