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1999 Data from the MEPS Insurance Component Are Now Available

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Press Release Date: September 27, 2001

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has released summary information on the average health insurance premiums for employer-sponsored coverage for calendar year 1999, based on data from AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Insurance Component (MEPS IC). The MEPS IC includes a sample of businesses and governments throughout the United States each year beginning in 1996. From these data, national, regional, and state-level estimates can be made of the amount, types, and costs of health insurance available to Americans through their workplace. Highlights from the findings on private-sector employers follow:

  • The average health insurance premiums in 1999 were $2,325 for single coverage and $6,058 for family coverage. Premiums increased 6.9 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively, over premiums in 1998, continuing a trend of increasing premiums each year since 1996.
  • The average employee contributions to health insurance premiums in 1999 were $420 for single coverage and $1,438 for family coverage. Employee contributions increased 9.6 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively, over 1998, continuing the trend from previous years.
  • Employers with less than 50 employees increased their employees' contributions towards premiums for single coverage at a significantly higher rate than larger employers. Employee contributions for family coverage did not significantly change from 1998.
  • The percent of individual business establishments offering health insurance continued to increase slightly. However, the percent of individual business establishments offering a choice of plans dropped off after three prior years of reported increases.
  • The number of employers offering health insurance to their retirees (both under and over 65 years old) continued to drop.

More 1999 information on private-sector employers, as well as information on public-sector employers, is available in tabular form on the Web at, or contact Jim Branscome at Data from the 1996, 1997 and 1998 MEPS IC are available through MEPSnet/IC, an interactive analytical tool, at General information about AHRQ and MEPS can be found on the AHRQ Web site.

For additional information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364: Karen Carp, (301) 427-1858 (


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