first bank  

Making more, and spending more on health insurance

The good news: The average Virginian is making $589 more a month today compared to 2000. The bad news: That same average Virginian is paying out $500 more a month for health insurance that doesn’t cover as much as the insurance that you could get in 2000.

“What has made health-care reform such a top priority for policymakers and the American public has been the fact that health-care costs are growing very, very rapidly, especially when compared to other things, like wages that workers are receiving, and business receipts that small businesses in particular are receiving,” said Ron Pollack, the executive director of Families USA, a Washington, D.C.,-based health-consumer lobby that on Tuesday released a report titled “Costly Coverage” looking at rising health-insurance costs.

Virginia is actually sitting pretty relative to our neighbors due to our strong state economy. Median earnings are up 26.7 percent from 2000 to 2009, about a third above the earnings growth seen in North Carolina in the same time frame, according to the Families USA report.

That’s the only reason why Virginians aren’t effectively in the hole with health-insurance premiums eating up earnings increases and more. Median health-insurance premiums in Virginia rose from on average $6,684 a year in 2000 to $12,687 in 2009, according to the Families USA report. Median earnings went from $26,459 in 2000 to $33,527 in 2009.

And the increasing premiums are purchasing thinner coverage, Pollack noted, “coverage that comes with higher deductibles, higher copayments and fewer benefits.”

“If health-care reform does not happen soon, more and more families will be priced out of the health coverage they used to take for granted,” Pollack said.

“For America’s businesses and families, the absence of health-care reform is unaffordable and unacceptable. It will mean that businesses will have a harder time staying competitive, and more and more families will have to cope with stagnant wages and the loss of affordable health coverage,” Pollack said.


– Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press news
augusta free press news