State Spending on Employees’ Health Insurance Varies Significantly

Spending on health insurance for state employees was up slightly in 2013 over the previous two years, with the cost varying widely from state to state, according to a report from the State Health Care Spending Project. Paying for employee health insurance is second only to Medicaid as a portion of states’ health care spending. Monthly premiums averaged $963 per employee, with the state covering 84% of the premium. In California, the average is $1,092 with the state covering 77% of the premium.

State plans, using premium contributions from states and employees, paid for 92% of the average enrollee’s health care costs in 2013. To provide some context, these plans would be designated as platinum in the health insurance exchanges.Nineteen states offered employees at least one health plan with an annual deductible of at least $1,500 in 2013, up from 16 states in 2011. Among the 19 states, 7% of state employees enrolled in the high-deductible plans in 2013. Nationwide, 4% of state employees enrolled in such a plan, and 45% enrolled in plans with no deductible.

After controlling for plan richness and household size, there is a substantial range in premiums across the states. This suggests that other factors have an important effect on premiums, such as variation in physician treatment approaches, service utilization, and age and health status of employees. For more information, visit

Last Updated 12/01/2021

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