A Look At The Typical State Employee Health Plan: Full Breakdown By State

According to a new report by the Pew Trust, states in the US collectively spent $31 billion to insure 2.7 million employee households in 2013, an uptick in spending from 2011 and 2012 after adjusting for inflation. The average per-employee per-month premium for employees’ and dependents’ coverage was $963. States paid $808 (84 percent) of the total on average, and employees covered the remaining $155 (16 percent). However, this average masks sharp differences across the states, due to factors such as plan richness, average household size, provider price and physician practice patterns, as well as the age and health status of enrollees.

Some of the key findings:

  • Insutring Households: $31 billion was spent on state employee health plans by states in 2013
  • Premiums: 3/1 was the ratio between the highest and lowest per-employee state health plan premium in 2013
  • Actuarial Value: 92 percent was the average percentage of costs covered by state health plans in 2013
  • Deductibles: 76 percent of state employees enrolled in plans with an annual deductible of less than $500 in 2013
  • Early Retirees: 29 states enroll pre-65 retirees in health plans at the same premium rate as active employees

From the report:

In 2012, $865 billion was spent in the United States to insure 169 million people through employer-sponsored health insurance, which represented 31 percent of all health care spending. Public and private employers contributed $630 billion, or 73 percent, toward this total; employees picked up the difference. Employer-sponsored insurance is a vital element of the American health care landscape, and an important component of employee compensation. It helps provide people with access to affordable care, protects workers and their families from unaffordable medical costs, and serves as a critical funding source for virtually every medical institution.


The cost of health insurance has become a leading budget driver for employers of all sizes and in all sectors. From 1992 to 2012, the average cost of insuring each employee and dependent doubled, after adjusting for inflation. This increase has led many employers—including states—to review the benefits they provide, benchmark their offerings to comparable employers, and seek ways to control costs.


Health insurance costs have become a significant portion of states’ overall health care spending, second only to Medicaid. Nevertheless, little has been known about how states’ employee health plans and costs compare with one another and with those of large, private sector employers.


To provide policymakers and other stakeholders with information on state employee health care expenditures, as well as the factors underlying this spending, researchers from the State Health Care Spending Project—a collaboration between The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation—worked with actuaries from Milliman Inc. to produce a first-of-its kind analysis of the costs and characteristics of state employee health plans.* Although meaningful state-to-state comparisons are complicated by a number of factors, including who is covered (i.e., the number, age, and health of enrollees) and differences in health plan benefit design, this analysis offers a nationwide benchmark against which states can be compared.

There is much more in the full report (link), but for those pressed for time here is the full breakdown of the average health plan by each state, showing plan premiums as well as average employer and employee contributions.

It's not exactly clear why the average employee contribution in OK and MT is negative, but something tells us those particular employees don't want too much attention being paid to the sign in front of the number.


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