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Health insurance premiums continue rise

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WASHINGTON, Sep 09, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A survey released Thursday said premiums paid by U.S. workers for health insurance increased 11.2 percent this year, but that is less than the hike in 2003.

The 2004 Annual Employer Health Benefits Survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed the 2004 double-digit annual increase was the fourth in a row but down from the 13.9 percent hike reported last year.

Premiums for employer-based health insurance are running about five times the rate of inflation.

Average premiums in 2004 are $9,950 for family coverage and $3,695 for individual policies. Since 2001, premiums for family coverage have risen by 59 percent, the study found.

The percentage of all workers getting employer-sponsored coverage in 2004 is 61 percent, down from 65 percent in 2001.

Preferred provider organizations -- PPOs -- remain the most popular form of insurance at 55 percent of the employer-based market and premiums for them are higher than the average -- almost $11,000 per year for family coverage.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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