Expect Higher Health Insurance Premiums and Deductibles in 2014


health insurance premiumsIt’s that time again; open enrollment for 2014 health insurance. Many employees will see moderate increases in health insurance premiums, but larger deductibles. Here’s what to expect as you budget for your health care expenses next year.


Trends in Health Insurance Premiums


While an increase is nothing to be joyful about, a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that, from 2012 to 2013, costs only rose 5 percent for single-person plans and 4 percent for family plans. These figures are relatively low compared to family premiums, which rose 80 percent between 2000 and 2010, an annual average of 8 percent.


However, this good news is offset by larger annual deductibles in place on a greater number of plans. The average deductible for workers on a single insurance plan in 2013 was $1,135. This increase in deductibles is largely responsible for the stability of annual premiums.


The slowdown in the rate of growing health insurance premiums should continue with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. According to Kaiser Family Foundation CEO Drew Altman, writing for Politico, the slower economy is only one factor suppressing costs.


Altman writes, “Historically, we have always seen the health-care marketplace respond by lowering costs when there is the threat of impending health reform legislation or government action on costs. Now we have not only the threat but the reality.”


How to Control Your Health Insurance Costs


If you find your health insurance costs becoming painfully high, look into a Health Savings Account (HAS). These tax-deferred accounts let you deduct money from your paycheck before taxes to set aside for future medical expenses.


You can also ask your employer’s human resources department about wellness programs at your workplace. Many offer benefits such as premium discounts, cash bonuses and gift cards for your participation. You can also recommend starting an on-site clinic with your employer to help reduce the cost of care down the line.