Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health Care Reform:

Health Insurance & Affordable Care Act

Hint: It's Not the Affordable Care Act

WebMD Health News

Why the Jump in Health Insurance Premiums?

Oct. 14, 2011 -- What's behind the 2011 surge in the cost of job-based health insurance?

Over the past decade, workers' share of family health insurance premiums has gone from under $1,800 to over $4,100 a year, up 131% since 2001. Employers now contribute an average $15,000, up 113%.

That increase has been sneaking steadily upward each year. But last year saw an 8% increase in individual plan premiums and a 9% increase for family plans, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Who's to blame? Many pundits were quick to round up the usual suspect: health care reform. Indeed, several major provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect in 2011.

Three of these changes affect insurers' costs, according to an analysis by Jon Gabel of the University of Chicago and colleagues at the Towers Watson consulting firm:

  • At age 19, kids used to get booted from family plans. Now they can stay on a parent's employer-supported plan until they're 26.
  • The vast majority of job-based plans now must pay the full cost of preventive health care. That means no co-pay to offset insurer costs.
  • Insurers can no longer set an upper limit on lifetime benefits.

Health Care Reform and Health Insurance Cost

So are the pundits right? Only partly. Gabel and colleagues calculate that:

  • Keeping adult kids on parent plans added 0.9% to insurance premiums.
  • The ban on lifetime maximum benefits added 0.5% to insurance premiums.
  • Free preventive services added 0.4% to insurance premiums.
  • Other provisions of the Affordable Care Act had no effect on insurance premiums for 2011.

That means that health care reforms are responsible for 2 points of the 9-point increase in family health insurance premiums.

"At least this year, there is a general consensus that the effect of the Affordable Care Act on health costs is modest," Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation, tells WebMD (Kaiser Family Foundation is not affiliated with the Kaiser Permanente managed care consortium).

On the plus side, these changes in the U.S. health care system provided benefits to large numbers of people, notes Sara R. Collins, PhD, vice president for affordable health insurance at the Commonwealth Fund.

Latest Health Reform News

Loading …
URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices