The Kaiser Family Foundation has done a national survey on the availablity of health insurance for working Americans. What they found should shock us all:
1. Only 60% of American employers offer any kind of health benefits for their employees. This is down from 69% just 5 years ago.
2. Of those offering health benefits, they found that about one-fifth of employers now offer high-deductible health plans. The plans, known as ''consumer-driven health plans," are intended to reduce consumers' use of healthcare services by shifting more costs to employees through high deductibles and co-payments.
3. The survey said premium costs are rising at about three times the rate of increase of the average worker's earnings and at about two-and-a-half times the rate of inflation.
4. The annual health insurance premium for a family of four is $10,880, the survey found, which is more than the yearly pay, before taxes, of a full-time worker earning the minimum wage.
The last stat really got to me. Imagine a single mother with 3 children (not atypical in our society). If this mother worked TWO full-time jobs making minimum wage, more than HALF of her wages would go to provide health care for her children and herself if she could even get it.The case for a Living Wage and Health Care for All has never been clearer.
(Thanks to Nancy Van Orden who sent me the article from Boston Globe writer Jeffrey Krasner from which I extracted the above facts.)