2013 survey finds modest rise in premiums for private health insurance: Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $16,351 this year, up 4% from in 2012, with workers on average paying $4,565 out of pocket toward the cost of their coverage, according to the 2013 Employer Health Benefits Survey released by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust. During the same period, workers’ wages and general inflation were up 1.8% and 1.1%, respectively. This year’s rise in premiums is moderate by historical standards. Since 2003, premiums have increased 80%, nearly three times as fast as wages (31%) and inflation (27%). Survey data show that firms with many lower-wage workers (at least 35% earning ≤$23,000 annually) require workers to pay $1,363 more on average toward family premiums than workers at firms with fewer lower-wage workers ($5,818 compared with $4,455 annually). The lower-wage firms also offer less costly coverage, creating a disparity in the share of the premium that their workers must pay (39% compared with 29% at firms with fewer lower-wage workers). This year, 78% of all workers with employee-sponsored coverage had an annual deductible, up from 72% in 2012. Workers must pay this deductible before most services are covered. The average 2013 deductible for worker-only coverage is $1,135, similar to that in 2012 ($1,097). The survey found that large deductibles (≥$1,000) are common, especially for workers at smaller firms: 38% of all covered workers had such a deductible, compared with 58% at small firms. Nearly a third of workers at small firms (31%) had deductibles of at least $2,000, up from 12% in 2008. Employee wellness programs are a popular strategy to control costs. Nearly all large employers (at least 200 workers) surveyed offer at least one such program. These and other findings from the 15th annual survey are summarized in an eight-page report available on the Kaiser Web site at kff.org/private-insurance/report/2013-employer-health-benefits.