WASHINGTON – Workers won’t find much comfort in the smallest increase in health insurance premiums since 1999. The 7.7 percent increase this year was still more than twice the rate of inflation. ‘To working people and business owners, a reduction in an already very high rate of increase just means you’re still paying more,’ said Dr. Drew Altman, president and chief executive officer of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health care research organization that annually tracks the cost of health insurance. Altman said the rising gap between premium growth and wages is particularly startling when one takes a longer look back. Since 2000, health insurance premiums have gone up 78 percent; wages 20 percent. ‘Yes, the rate of increase is down, but I don’t think anybody is celebrating,’ Altman said of this year’s numbers. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s findings are based on a telephone survey of 3,159 randomly selected private and public employers. More that 155 million Americans get their health insurance through their jobs. Employers on average pick up 84 percent of the cost for individuals and 73 percent for families. The rising cost of health insurance is one reason that employers […]

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