Health Premium Growth Slows to 4.5%

This year's increase follows a 9.5% jump in 2011; the average cost of family coverage is now $15,745.

Growth in the health insurance premiums charged by companies including UnitedHealth Group Inc. and WellPoint Inc. has slowed to 4.5 percent this year, less than half of 2011’s rate, the Kaiser Family Foundation said.

The average cost for a family plan obtained through an employer jumped to $15,745 this year, from $15,073 in 2011, when premiums rose 9.5 percent, the Menlo Park, California-based research group said today after surveying more than 2,000 companies. Premiums, a cost typically shared by employers and employees, have doubled in the past decade, three times the gains in wages and inflation, according to Kaiser.

2010 Overhaul

Donald Nathan, a spokesman for Minnetonka, Minnesota-based UnitedHealth, and Kristin Binns, a WellPoint spokeswoman, didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment on Kaiser’s report.

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