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Health insurance costs rise… again

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s annual Employer Health Benefits Survey, health care premiums jumped 9% in 2011. The average premium for family coverage is now more than $15,000 per year. We know what you’re thinking– must be that awful Obamacare, right? Not so fast:

Critics have blamed rising insurance premiums on the 2010 health care law, but Kaiser Family Foundation president and CEO Drew Altman said that’s not the case.

Altman attributed most of the increase to rising health costs. The new legal requirements that expanded preventive care and added those young adults contributed to about 1.5 percent of the price increase.

“Since we began doing this survey 13 years ago, worker contributions to premiums have increased 168 percent, wages 50 percent, and inflation 38 percent,” Altman wrote in an essay accompanying the release of the survey done by the foundation and the Health Research and Benefits Trust.

“There are people who blame everything on the Affordable Care Act, including the weather,” he told POLITICO in an interview. “The big increase we see this year is not an increase of the Affordable Care Act.” In fact, he added the health reform legislation contains tools that could restrain cost growth in the future.

The New York Times has a great graphic showing how costs have been rising pretty steadily for the last decade.

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