Premiums for employer-sponsored family health insuranceincreased by 50 percent from 2003 to 2010, and the annual amountthat employees pay toward their insurance increased by 63 percentas businesses required employees to contribute a greater share,according to a new Commonwealth Fund report.

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Health insurance costs outpace income growth in every state inthe country, the report finds. And at the same time, premiums buyless protective coverage: per-person deductibles doubled foremployees working for large as well as small firms over the sametime period.

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The report says by 2010, 62 percent of the U.S. population livedin a state where health insurance premiums equaled 20 percent ormore of earnings for a middle-income individual under age 65. Todaythere are virtually no states where premiums are relatively lowcompared to income. In 2003, there were 13 states where annualpremiums constituted less than 14 percent of the median (middle)income. By 2010, there were none.

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The analysis of state-by-state trends between 2003 and 2010finds that premiums for employer-sponsored family health insuranceincreased 50 percent across states, reaching an average of $13,871a year by 2010. Annual premiums rose in every state, with increasesranging from 33 percent in Idaho to 70 percent in Mississippi.

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Premiums for family coverage were highest in New York, RhodeIsland, Connecticut, Florida, New Hampshire, and Washington, D.C.,ranging from $14,730 to $15,206. But, the report finds costs werehigh even in the “lowest” average-cost states. Premiums ranged from$11,379 to $12,409 in Idaho, Arkansas, Hawaii, Montana, andAlabama, the five states with the lowest average costs for privateemployer-based coverage.

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As premium costs have risen, employers have asked employees tocontribute more to their health insurance costs by paying a largershare of premiums and accepting higher deductibles.

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And despite stagnant or declining incomes, the report shows, theannual amount employees contributed to their health insurancepremiums increased by 63 percent between 2003 and 2010. By 2010,the cost to employees rose to an average of $3,721 a year for afamily policy. Workers in Michigan, Montana, Vermont, Pennsylvania,and Kentucky had the lowest average annual costs for their share ofpremiums, while workers in Delaware, Maine, Virginia, Texas andFlorida made the highest contributions.

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Despite paying more for their health insurance, employees aregetting coverage that offers less protection. Per-persondeductibles increased an average of 98 percent across states from2003 to 2010. By 2010, 74 percent of workers faced a deductible,compared to 52 percent in 2003. Average deductibles exceeded $1,000in 29 states in 2010; in 2003, not one state had an averagedeductible of more than $1,000.

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