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Health Care Costs, Press Release, Research

New Analysis Shows Premiums for Employer Sponsored Health Coverage Increasing Faster Than Incomes in Most States

Published On April 1, 2019

Washington, DC – United States of Care, a nonprofit organization focused on expanding affordable health care to all Americans, and the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania (Penn LDI), today released an issue brief on the health care cost burden imposed on working families.

The brief examines state-level burden of employer-sponsored insurance for working families measured against income, adjusted for local cost of living. Key findings include:

  • Between 2010 and 2016, the average health care cost burden increased from 28% to 30% nationally, with premiums growing faster than incomes. At the state level, the burden increased in all but four states, including the District of Columbia.
  • In 2016, the states with the highest health care cost burdens were Louisiana, New York, Florida, Maine, and West Virginia. The states with the lowest health care cost burdens were Minnesota, Utah, Iowa, Nebraska, and Colorado.
  • Even in Minnesota, the least burdened state, premiums alone accounted for nearly a quarter of a family’s wages, taking into account the employer share of premium payments.
  • Deductibles continued to rise in addition to this cost burden, with the average annual deductible these families face increasing from $1,975 in 2010 to $3,069 in 2016. The analysis found little association between deductibles and premiums at the state level .

“These findings clearly show that nationwide, regardless of whether you’re in Minnesota or Louisiana, health care premium costs consume an enormous share of incomes, and working families are increasingly facing tough decisions about their health care spending,” said United States of Care Executive Director Emily Barson. “At United States of Care, we believe that no family should have to choose between paying rent and accessing the health care that they need. We will continue to support innovative policy approaches that promote affordable health care for all Americans.”

“Our partnership with United States of Care provides an important opportunity to strengthen the ties between the academic and policy communities. We hope that this brief contributes to the national discussion on health care costs and helps policymakers understand the impact of health care costs on their constituents.” added Dave Grande, MD, MPA, Director of Policy at Penn LDI.

Read the summary and full issue brief.

About the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics

Since 1967, the University of Pennsylvania Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (Penn LDI) has been the leading university institute dedicated to data-driven, policy-focused research that improves our nation’s health and health care. Penn LDI works on issues concerning health care reform, health care delivery, healthy behaviors, and vulnerable populations. LDI and its Senior Fellows are among the pioneers in interdisciplinary health services research and have helped guide health policies at all levels of government and the private sector. As a research partner to United States of Care, Penn LDI produces, distills, and disseminates research evidence on what is known, and still unknown, about policy proposals to expand health coverage to all.