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How much does employer health insurance cost?

By on September 28th, 2011
Filed: Employee Benefits, Facts

You might have missed it in the news but the Kaiser Family Foundation released its annual survey of employer-based health insurance yesterday. This is one of the biggest studies to come out every year focused entirely on the costs and benefits of employer-based health coverage. You can read the report online, but here are a couple of the headline stats:

  • Average costs for employer-based coverage for single persons increased 9% over last year
  • Average premiums for employer-based coverage for families increased 8%  over last year

Now, it’s important to note that “costs” for employer-based coverage are split between employers and employees. The average annual cost of employer-sponsored family health insurance was $15,073 for 2011 – with, on average, $4,129 of that paid by workers, and $10,944 of that paid by employers. Workers contribute on average 18% of the premium for single coverage and 28% of the premium for family coverage. Those are roughly the same percentages they contributed in 2010 – which means that while everyone’s paying more, employers and employees are still contributing the same portions of the total costs.

Nonetheless, you can be sure that some employees will feel the pinch this open enrollment season, when many of them will be asked to sign up for their 2012 health insurance benefits.

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s findings are based on 2011 data, but you can compare their findings with some other recent reports about what employers can expect for 2012. For example, a recent study from the National Business Group on Health (a survey of larger businesses) found that employers should expect a 7.2% increase in health care costs next year.

A similar Towers Watson survey found that 66% of mid-sized and large firms plan to increase the amount of the monthly premium paid by employees for single coverage in 2012. Even more, 72% plan to increase the amount employees pay toward their dependents’ coverage.

We’ll all keep an eye on developments in the days and weeks to come. In the meantime, if you get your health insurance through an employer and you’re concerned about your choices for next year, take a look at the open enrollment tips we recently published.

About Douglas Dalrymple


Doug Dalrymple is a member of the communications team at eHealth, Inc. and has worked in the health insurance and technology industries for fifteen years. He works on communications strategy, content creation and management, project management, and corporate messaging.

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