After several years of more modest increases, 2011 broughtcompanies and consumers sharply higher health insurance premiumincreases—and questions about the factors behind the increasedrates.

A September 2011 Kaiser Family Foundation study showed theaverage annual premium for family coverage through an employer grewto $15,073 in 2011. That’s 9 percent higher than the same premiumin 2010, and a dramatic contrast to the preceding several years,when premium increases of 3 percent to 5 percent were common. Theoverall trajectory, however, has always been up. The cost of familycoverage has nearly doubled since 2001, though wages have increasedby just 34 percent.

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