Premiums for some family plans cost $20,000 or more

Research Activities, November 2010, No. 363

One in 10 enrolled workers in Alaska, Indiana, and Minnesota were in health insurance plans costing $20,000 or more—at least $7,000 more than the national average—for employer-based health insurance premiums that covered their families in 2008, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The Agency's analysis of annual employer-based health insurance premiums also found that, for the nation as a whole, 10 percent of enrolled workers—about 2 million—had a family plan that cost $17,000 or more. The average annual premium for family plans in 2008 was $12,298.

In addition, AHRQ's analysis of employer-based health insurance premiums in 2008 for private industry found that:

  • The portion of family plan premiums paid by the employee for 1 in 10 workers nationwide was $6,700 or more, compared with the national average of $3,394.
  • However, 10 percent of workers in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Washington spent at least $8,100 to get family coverage.
  • Some 3.1 million workers nationwide with single coverage were in plans with annual premiums totaling $6,200 or more, or at least 41 percent higher than the national average of $4,386.
  • For workers who were enrolled in single-coverage plans, 1 in 10 paid at least $1,900—more than double the national average of $882.

Health insurance premiums vary within and between the States. The survey provides estimates of the range of premium costs within each State and across the nation, in addition to average premiums.

The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Insurance Component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (, a source of detailed information on employer-sponsored health insurance coverage and costs at the national, State, and metropolitan area levels.

For MEPS summary data on employer-based health insurance premiums, go to Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) .

For further information, contact Bob Isquith at or call 301-427-1539.

Current as of November 2010
Internet Citation: Premiums for some family plans cost $20,000 or more: Research Activities, November 2010, No. 363. November 2010. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.