NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 29, 2008

Wherever one looks, health care costs are on the rise.  The average premium for family coverage has increased 119 percent since 1999.  To figure out where singles and families are making the greatest contributions to their employer-sponsored health insurance plans, Forbes magazine looked at data in the 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, an annual survey that collects information about employer-sponsored health insurance offerings in the United States.

In 2006, the most recent year for which data is available, more than 39,000 private-sector establishments and over 3,000 state and local government units were surveyed.  The numbers show that, on an annual basis:

  • Singles in Hawaii, Oregon and Nevada made the lowest contributions to their employer-sponsored health plan, ranging from $355 to $537, compared to the national average of $782.
  • Residents of Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire paid the most, at typically over $1,000.
  • The results were not too different for families, with those living in Nevada, Idaho and Wyoming paying the least, ranging from $2,144 to $2,297, compared to the national average of $2,845.
  • Maine, Florida and Virginia had the highest price tags, topping out at $3,709.
  • New Jersey, which has the 10th highest average contribution rate for single employees, is one of only a few states that mandates coverage for foot medicine and in-vitro fertilization, according to the National Center for Policy Analysis.

There is a long list of factors behind variations in employer contributions toward employer-sponsored health plans from state to state, including the condition of the labor market, the presence of unions, differences in local medical practices and the structure of the insurance market.  Yet, experts stress that the company you work for and its overall reputation for generosity will have more of a direct impact on you than where you call home, says Forbes.

Source: Allison Van Dusen, "Are You Paying Too Much For Health Insurance?" Forbes, October 22, 2008.


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