Percent of annual premiums contributed by employees
Health insurance plans typically charge a monthly fee called a “premium.” In the case of employer-sponsored insurance (ESI), the cost of a health plan premium is split between the employer and the employee. The share of ESI premiums paid by employees across single and family insurance policies has increased over the past decade. As a result, employee contributions to ESI premiums represent a growing share of workers’ incomes. Tracking employee contributions to ESI premiums is a key step in understanding and comparing the cost of ESI plans and addressing financial barriers to coverage, even for those who seem to have ready access to or the option of enrolling in a health insurance plan.
State Health Compare provides annual state-level measures of employee contributions to premiums for single plans and family plans. These measures reflect data collected in the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey – Insurance Component (MEPS-IC).
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This report provides an overview of the 2021 MEPS-IC private-sector ESI estimates, and considers how trends in ESI coverage and cost have evolved over the past three years, since the pre-pandemic baseline (2019), since the first year of the pandemic (2020), and in 2021.
Data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey-Insurance Component (MEPS-IC) show employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) remains the largest single source of coverage for most Americans, with 62.2 million private-sector workers enrolled in ESI in 2021. SHADAC’s analysis of 2021 MEPS-IC ESI data provides an overview of employee access to coverage and the costs associated with coverage plans.