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Workers in Small Companies Pay Higher Health Premiums

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Americans who work in small businesses are more likely to pay high premiums for health plans, says a federal government report.

An analysis of 2008 data revealed that nearly 13 percent of employees with employer-sponsored health plans who worked in businesses with 10 or fewer employees had premiums of $7,200 or more a year for single-coverage plans, compared to the national average of $4,704 for such plans, according the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Among the other findings:

* Only about 4 percent of workers in large companies (1,000 or more employees) had premiums of $7,200 or more for an employer-sponsored single-coverage health plan.
* About 7 percent of enrolled workers in small businesses paid premiums of at least $19,000 for family coverage, compared with 4.5 percent of enrolled workers in large companies. The national average premium for a family-coverage health plan was $11,650 for workers in small businesses and $12,595 for those in large companies.
* In businesses of all sizes, 5 percent of workers with single coverage paid premiums of $7,200 or more and 5 percent of workers with family coverage had premiums of $19,000 or more.

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