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Health insurance premiums have more than doubled since 1996

Private-sector employers and their employees have seen their health insurance premium costs go up by more than 100 percent since 1996, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The data also show that for employment-based health insurance between 1996 and 2006:

  • Nationwide, the average premium cost of a family insurance plan rose from $4,954 to $11,381 a year, while the average cost for a single premium went from $1,992 to $4,118.
  • Employers paid for most of the increases; their share rose from $3,679 to $8,491 a year for family coverage and from $1,650 to $3,330 a year for single coverage.
  • Employees saw their share rise significantly, as well—from $1,275 to $2,890 a year for family coverage, and from $342 to $788 a year for single coverage.

The data are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid. For more information, go to the MEPS Web site at

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