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Family insurance premiums topped $12,000 a year in 2008

Research Activities, September 2009

The cost of insuring a family of four with an employer-sponsored health plan in the United States averaged $12,298 in 2008, according to the latest data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The Agency's new data for private industry further showed that the annual premium for covering an employee and one family member, known as an "employee-plus-one" plan, averaged $8,535, while it cost $4,386 for the employee only.

Almost 20 million of the 62.5 million workers enrolled in employer-based insurance in 2008 had family plans, while about 11 million had employee-plus-one plans. The 31.5 million remaining workers had single-coverage plans.

AHRQ's 2008 private-industry data also showed that:

  • Nationally, workers enrolled in family plans last year contributed an average of $3,394 toward the cost of their premiums, compared with $2,303 for an employee-plus-one policy, and $882 for a single-coverage plan.
  • Across all States, workers in Florida contributed the most for a family plan ($4,412) while Indiana workers contributed the least ($2,472); for employee-plus-one plans, New Hampshire workers contributed the most and Idaho workers the least ($3,005 and $1,736, respectively); and for single coverage, New Hampshire workers again contributed the most ($1,264) and workers in Hawaii the least ($451).
  • Employers paid the entire premiums for about 22 percent of workers with single-coverage plans, just 11 percent for workers with family plans, and 9 percent for those with employee-plus-one plans.

These data are taken from the Insurance Component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), a source of detailed information on employer-sponsored health insurance coverage and costs at the National, State, and metropolitan area levels. For more information on the MEPS Statistical Brief #251, Employer-Sponsored Single, Employee-Plus-One, and Family Health Insurance: Selection and Cost, 2008, go to For MEPS summary data on employer-based health insurance, go to

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Page last reviewed September 2009
Internet Citation: Family insurance premiums topped $12,000 a year in 2008: Research Activities, September 2009. September 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.