DAVENPORT - Premiums for health insurance that Iowans get through their employers went up by an average of 8.4 percent in 2018 from the year before, a new survey says.
Meanwhile, deductibles also are going up.
The survey was conducted by David P. Lind Benchmark of Clive, a research organization that has published the Iowa Employer Benefits Study for the past 19 years.
The firm released results from its latest survey Tuesday, and it said the premium increase for the year far outstripped the 2.5 percent boost in wages in Iowa over the same period.
"Similar to prior results, medical costs in Iowa continue to outpace ages, crowding out the ability for employees and their families to save for retirement and/or make purchases of non-medical goods and services," said David Lind, the organization's president.
In 2016, Lind said average premiums were up 8 percent over the previous year.
The annual increases found in the survey haven't been as high lately as they were in the early 2000s. But, they've still been going up between 7 and 10 percent in the early part of this decade. The survey wasn't conducted in 2017.
"Year by year it’s become a drip, drip, drip," Lind said.
The average premium for a family policy was $17,450 in 2018, up 10.8 percent from 2016, while an employee-only plan averaged $6,874, up 5.7 percent from two years ago, the survey said.
The costs borne by workers also has increased. Iowa employees were asked to contribute an average of about $113 per month for single coverage in 2018, up 21 percent from 2016, according to the survey. Workers who had family coverage were asked to pay an average $438 per month this year, up 8.7 percent from two years ago.
Deductibles also went up over the past year, according to the survey.
The average deductible for employee-only coverage was $1,900 in 2018, $273 higher than in 2016, a 17 percent increase. The average family deductible of $3,899 is $517 higher than in 2016, according to the new survey.
The study said 77 percent of all employers reported an increase in their health insurance premiums, with 60 percent passing along some or all of the increased cost to employees. Twenty percent said they were increasing deductibles, while12 percent said they were raising out of pocket costs.
The survey was conducted over the spring and summer of 2018 and is based on 1,001 responses from 5,152 randomly selected employers with two or more workers.