Advocates pitch health reform to middle-income Americans

    Health premium costs outpace wages in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

    The rising cost of health insurance is outpacing wages – by a lot. A new report details the impact on family budgets in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

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    Many of the latest pitches for health reform are directed at middle-income Americans. The non-profit group Families USA says those people, many of whom have insurance, will benefit as much as those who don’t.

    Pollack: They need to be concerned that health coverage will remain available to them, if they lose their jobs, if they decide they want to switch jobs, or if they want to start their own business.

    Ron Pollack leads the Washington-based non-profit, which supports the Obama administration’s health reform proposals.

    A new report from the group shows that health insurance costs for working families grew five times faster than wages during the last decade. For Pennsylvania families who get their coverage at work, the average annual premium is now more than $13,000. Workers shoulder about 24 percent of that cost, while employers pay for the remaining 76 percent.

    Pollack:
    What is so surprising about this is those premiums are purchasing thinner coverage, and by thinner coverage we mean coverage that comes with higher deductibles, higher co-payments and fewer benefits.

    The report found similar trends in Delaware. In The First State, health care premiums rose 4.5 times faster than earnings.

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