Booster Shots

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Not-so-hidden cost of health insurance

May 19, 2008 | 12:30 pm

I hate to break this to you, but you're paying more for health insurance. Your employer is paying more too, but you're picking up more of the increase by seeing a bigger deduction in your paycheck and by paying higher co-pays.

Duh! This probably doesn't come as a surprise. But what's really depressing is that pretty much the whole wad is coming out of your pocket, when you think about it. Your boss's contributions are actually coming out of foregone wage increases, the authors of a new study say.

A survey of health spending in 14 states, the 2008 Milliman Health Index, found that while your boss pays $9,442, or 60% of the average family of four insurance cost of $15,609, you shell out $6,167. Of your total, $3,492 comes out of your paycheck and $2,675 comes out of your pocket. Milliman is a global consulting and actuarial firm.

“The employee’s share of spending on healthcare services rose by double digits for the second consecutive year in 2008,” study co-author Lorraine Mayne, a Milliman principal and consulting actuary, said in a news release. “We estimate the employees’ portion of healthcare premiums increased 10.1% in 2008 over 2007. This is likely to increase pressure on the next presidential administration to address healthcare costs.”

For Californians, who pay $15,861 to cover a family of four, things could be better. Folks in Phoenix pay $13,868 for the same coverage. But cheer up. It could be worse. A family of four in Miami pays $18,780.

-- Susan Brink