The State Worker

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

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.