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Survey: Health insurance costs outpace wage gains

Workers saw a modest rise in the average cost of employer-sponsored health insurance this year, but they're probably not overwhelmed with relief.

Coverage costs still are climbing faster than wages. That means, in many cases, that a bigger portion of the average paycheck is sliced off for insurance instead of being deposited into employee bank accounts.

Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family coverage climbed nearly 4 percent this year to top $16,000 for the first time, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation released Tuesday.

The cost of single coverage rose almost 5 percent. Those are smaller increases than the spikes of 9 percent for family coverage and 8 percent for single recorded in 2011. But this year's increases lap the average 1.8 percent rise in worker wages.

Plus, more companies are giving their employees coverage with a high deductible. Those plans require a patient to pay more out of pocket for things like blood tests or MRIs before coverage starts. Coupled with the growing cost of coverage, that means many employees are likely paying more for insurance that covers less.


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