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Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

Randall Benton /

The California State Capitol building from the Tower Bridge in Sacramento on Sunday, September 29, 2013.

Study examines spending by California, other states on employee health benefits

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014 - 1:21 pm

States spent nearly $31 billion to provide health coverage to 2.7 million employee households in 2013, a small increase from the previous two years, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis released Tuesday by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the MacArthur Foundation.

States’ total health premiums and related costs trailed only Medicaid, the government-run healthcare program for the poor, as a share of total health care spending, according to the study.

In California, the average total premium per employee was $1,092, more than Texas ($713) and Florida ($958), but less than New York ($1,106) and New Jersey ($1,334). Nationwide, the average premium came in at $963.

The average employer premium contribution was 77 percent in California and 84 percent nationally.

The 45-page analysis noted that enrollees in state and municipal government plans were older than their private-sector counterparts. One reason for this is that public-sector employees tend to stay in their jobs longer.

The report also takes a deeper look at how decision-makers across the states are pursuing policy changes to reduce health care costs without harming their employees. A copy of the full analysis, including links to the data and the charts, is available here.

Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago

Read more articles by Christopher Cadelago

About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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Note: The State Worker blog switched blog platforms in October 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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