Employees in small businesses more likely to have high-premium health plans

Research Activities, August 2010, No. 360

Nearly 13 percent of workers with employer-sponsored health plans who worked in firms with 10 or fewer employees had premiums of $7,200 or more a year for single-coverage plans in 2008, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). This amount was much higher than the $4,704 average national premium for employer-sponsored single-coverage health plans that year. AHRQ's analysis also found that:

  • By comparison, only about 4 percent of workers enrolled in plans sponsored by large businesses (1,000 or more workers) had premiums of $7,200 or more for employer-sponsored, single-coverage health plans. The national average premium in large businesses for this type of coverage was $4,340.
  • For family coverage, about 7 percent of enrolled workers in small businesses had premiums of at least $19,000 in 2008 compared with 4.5 percent of employees in large companies. The national average premium for a family-coverage health plan in 2008 was $11,650 (less than 10 employees) and $12,595 (1000+ employees), respectively.
  • Across all businesses, 5 percent of employees with single coverage had premiums of $7,200 or more, while 5 percent of employees with family coverage had premiums of $19,000 or more.

The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a detailed source of information on the health services used by Americans, the frequency with which they are used, the cost of those services, and how they are paid. You can access the full report, Enrollment in High Premium Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance, Private Industry, 2008 at http://meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_files/publications/st283/stat283.shtml.

Current as of August 2010
Internet Citation: Employees in small businesses more likely to have high-premium health plans: Research Activities, August 2010, No. 360. August 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://archive.ahrq.gov/news/research-activities/aug10/0810RA30.html