U.S. Health-Insurance Costs Skyrocket


Geisinger Health System nurse Linda Wilson (front) and other nurses enter and review patient medical information in the Geisinger Health System electronic health records at the Geisinger Clinic in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, October 29, 2009. At Geisinger, all parties - patients, physicians, nurses, administrators, and the internal insurance plan - have timely access to each patient's medical history. The system, which has cost about $100 million since it was installed in the mid-1990s, is designed to prevent duplication of procedures and improve the coordination of care.

Health-insurance prices are rising at a steeper rate than ever before. A new Kaiser Family Foundation study found that the cost of an average family premium has increased 9 percent in the past year, making the average family premium to $15,073. Rising fees are discouraging businesses from hiring more employees that they’ll have to insure, and discouraging many Americans from purchasing their own insurance. It's debatable why the cost increases are considered necessary by the insurance companies, since many people cut off trips to the doctor due to the poor economy and medical costs have actually decreased in the past year. Some consumer advocates have charged that insurance companies have hiked prices in anticipation of enacting President Obama's health-care law, which will require them by 2012 to justify any increase of more than 10 percent.