Skip Navigation Archive: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Archive: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality
Archive print banner

Health Insurance Premiums Rose More Than 30 Percent Between 1996 and 2000

This information is for reference purposes only. It was current when produced and may now be outdated. Archive material is no longer maintained, and some links may not work. Persons with disabilities having difficulty accessing this information should contact us at: Let us know the nature of the problem, the Web address of what you want, and your contact information.

Please go to for current information.

Press Release Date: September 12, 2002

The average annual health insurance premium in 2000 was $2,655 for single coverage and $6,772 for family coverage in private-sector establishments, an increase of 33.3 percent and 36.7 percent respectively since 1996, according to new data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Establishments are either businesses in a single location or individual worksites of a larger corporation.

The data, from the Insurance Component of AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, (MEPS) provide detailed trend information on health insurance costs and characteristics between 1996 and 2000, as well as state-by-state breakdowns. The tables include estimates of health insurance premiums, contributions, enrollments, self-insurance rates, and other information.

Details of the data include:

  • Since 1997, the first year that data on retirees were measured, there has been a significant decline in the number of employers who offer health insurance to their retirees of any age. Offerings to retirees under age 65 have dropped from 21.6 percent in 1997 to only 12 percent in 2000. Offerings to retirees 65 and older have dropped from 19.5 percent to 10.7 percent over the same period.
  • The proportion of private-sector establishments that offered health insurance rose from 52.9 percent to 59.3 percent between 1996 and 2000. In 2000, almost 90 percent of all employees worked for establishments that offered this coverage, compared with 86.5 percent in 1996.
  • Although their employers generally offered health insurance coverage, the portion of private-sector employees actually eligible for coverage fell from 81.3 percent in 1996 to 78.9 percent in 2000. Some employees may not have been eligible because health insurance was offered only to management or was based on length of service or full-time status. Among those eligible workers, enrollment in plans dropped from 85.5 percent to 81.2 percent over the 5 years.

The 2000 MEPS IC tables are available on the MEPS Web site. In addition, a new chartbook that analyzed trends, titled Changes in Job-Related Health Insurance, 1996-1999, also is available online. Print copies of the report are available through the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295 or

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


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care