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Robert Trigaux

Florida's still losing the war on skyrocketing health premiums




U.S. workers’ health insurance premiums rose 63 percent from 2003 to 2010 as employers shifted more of the burden of rising medical costs to individuals and families, a study shows. Florida workers were hit harder than most.

Wake up and good morning. Reporting on health insurance costs is rarely cheery and this one is no exception, especially for Floridians. The price of family health coverage at work has risen faster in Florida than any state except Mississippi, squeezing workers and employers alike, a nonprofit research group said Wednesday, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports here

Translation? More and more of your waning paycheck goes to health coverage. Florida is one of many states where more than 20 percent of the median income of employees now goes to cover health premiums.

From 2003 to 2010, total premiums on a family health policy in Florida climbed by 61 percent, to $15,032, second highest in the nation, according to a study by the Commonwealth Fund. That's the cost paid by employers and workers combined. Nationally, premiums climbed by 50 percent in those years. Here's a link to a more in-depth look at the report.

Florida families paid $4,685 of the $15,032, on average, or 31 percent of the total cost. In 2003, families paid $2,810, the study said.

Reports the Sun Sentinel: "'The study is bad news for Florida businesses because health insurance costs have risen faster here than in the rest of the county,' said Teye Reeves, a policy director at the Florida Chamber of Commerce. 'It doesn't speak very well for being competitive with business in other similar states,' Reeves said." 

If current trends continue, the average U.S. premium for family coverage would increase 72 percent to almost $24,000 a year by 2020. Read more here from Bloomberg News.

-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, St. Petersburg Times (soon to become the Tampa Bay Times)



[Last modified: Thursday, November 17, 2011 7:18am]


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