Screenshot | Courtesy of the Commonwealth Fund

Kentuckians who receive health insurance through their employers saw insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs rise modestly in 2017 and by far less than national averages, according to new analysis from a health care-focused private foundation.

However, the increases varied widely depending on whether employees chose family coverage of single coverage.

For single and family coverage combined, the employee portion of the premium costs was $3,998 in 2017, up 2.6 percent from 2016. That portion had risen an average 5.8 percent annually between 2011 and 2016, according to a new report by Commonwealth Fund.

Total potential annual out-of-pocket costs, at $7,136, rose 1.6 percent from 2016 to 2017, much slower than in the five years before that: From 2011 to 2016, those costs had risen from $4,844 to $7,022.

However, the changes from 2016 to 2017 in employees’ premium costs differed starkly between single coverage and family plans: Premium costs for families rose to $16,948, up 0.6 percent — compared to the national average 5.3 percent — but for single coverage, premium costs spiked to $6,101, up 12.6 percent  — compared to a national average of 6.8 percent.

The total price of employer-sponsored premiums, including the employers’ share, rose 6 percent for single coverage between 2016 and 2017. It had risen an annual average 2.6 percent between 2011 and 2016. The total price for family plans rose 1.6 percent between 2016 and 2017, the same as the average annual increase for the five prior years.

Screenshot | Courtesy of the Commonwealth Fund

Between 2008 and 2017, premium costs for single coverage has risen an annual average 5.8 percent, while premium costs for family coverage have risen 5.3 percent.

“Families’ costs for employer health insurance are rising faster than median income,” the Commonwealth said in a news release. “Moreover, even as costs climb, many families aren’t receiving higher-quality insurance.”

The authors encouraged policymakers to address rising health care costs to prevent employee and employer expenses from continuing to rise.

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Boris Ladwig
Boris Ladwig is a reporter with more than 20 years of experience and has won awards from multiple journalism organizations in Indiana and Kentucky for feature series, news, First Amendment/community affairs, nondeadline news, criminal justice, business and investigative reporting. As part of The (Columbus, Indiana) Republic’s staff, he also won the Kent Cooper award, the top honor given by the Associated Press Managing Editors for the best overall news writing in the state. A graduate of Indiana State University, he is a soccer aficionado (Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Köln), singer and travel enthusiast who has visited countries on five continents. He speaks fluent German, rudimentary French and bits of Spanish, Italian, Khmer and Mandarin.