Yikes!Â I’m not the only one.Â Texas families saw their health insurance premiums soar 40 percent in five years – 10 times faster then their incomes increased, according to a report released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton, N.J., a national foundation that promotes health care improvement.
The foundations report, “Squeezed: How Costs for Insuring Families are Outpacing Income” was prepared by University of Minnesota researchers, did not study why premiums increase almost 30 percent nationally to an average of $10,728 in 2005.Â In Texas, premiums jumped to an average $11,533.
Nationally, Texas ranked third behind Oklahoma and Idaho in premium increases from 2001 to 2005.Â At the same time, Texas ranked No. 1 in the percentage of residents without insurance.Â In 2005-2006 that figure was 27 percent and the state had 5.5 million of the nation’s 47 million uninsured people.
People without coverage often get expensive emergency room care, and those costs get passed on as higher premiums to people with insurance, says Regina Rogoff, the executive director of People’s Community Clinic which treats uninsured people in the Austin area.
Taxpayers also share the tab when hospitals and governments do more to help the uninsured according to Clarke Heidrick, a member of the Travis County Healthcare District Board.