Health Care Costs for Employers Keep Soaring

I've got bad news and really bad news to share with you based on the latest numbers outlined in the 2005 Employer Health Benefits survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation (free text link below).

To the plain bad, health insurance premiums paid by employers climbed at the lowest rate since 2000, a measly 9.2 percent --a slight improvement over 2004's 11.2 percent climb. But the news doesn't get any better from there: The cost of the average family health insurance policy topped the five-digit mark for the first time ever, as coverage soared to nearly $11,000 annually.

Wow!

As you can imagine -- and may have experienced first-hand -- the number of small companies offering health insurance fell to 60 percent from 69 percent five years ago. No surprise, growing health insurance costs exceeded incomes and inflation.

An interesting and frightening factoid: Howard Schultz, the chairman of Starbucks, says his company will spend more on employee health insurance than coffee in 2005...

By the way, health care coverage may not be enough to keep patients out of the poorhouse, considering half of all the bankruptcies reported four years ago resulted from medical problems.

I'm convinced these devastating numbers could be reduced if that conventional health care mindset, in which medical professionals are addicted to expensive, toxic and, often, unnecessary cures, focused instead on treating conditions that get to the true heart of disease.

Kaiser Family Foundation September 14, 2005 Free Full Text Report

USA Today September 15, 2005

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