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September 28, 2006
Health Insurance Premiums Rise at Slower Rate

Premiums for employer-sponsored health coverage increased an average of 7.7 percent in 2006, down from the 9.2 percent increase recorded in 2005, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET).

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This year marked the slowest rate of growth in premiums since 2000, according to the survey.

Premiums have increased 87 percent over the past six years. Family health coverage now costs an average $11,480 annually, with workers paying an average of $2,973 toward those premiums, about $1,354 more than in 2000.

"While premiums didn't rise as fast as they have in recent years, working people don't feel like they are getting any relief at all because their premiums have been rising so much faster than their paychecks," says Drew E. Altman, president and CEO of the Kaiser Family Foundation. "To working people and business owners a reduction in an already very high rate of increase just means you're still paying more."

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