How much is company medical insurance?
October 20, 2010 4:10 PM   Subscribe

How much is the average employee contribution to a company medical plan?

I work for a non-profit and my monthly cost for the company medical plan is nearly $500 (family plan). I've been out of the country for about 10 years and I could have sworn that when I previously lived here (in the US) it was more like $30 or $40 per month for medical. Has it really increased that much or am I paying well above average?
posted by gfrobe to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Yes, it really has increased a lot. The amount you are asked to contribute does vary from employer to employer, though. Some employers have absorbed the increased costs, or a portion of them; others have kept their contribution roughly the same and made the employee bear the increase.

Keep in mind that if you are paying $500 to cover your entire family, the company is probably paying roughly two thirds of the total cost of the coverage (or even more, depending on the plan).
posted by kindall at 4:14 PM on October 20, 2010

Here's a link to the 1995 data as reported by the bureau of labor.

On an anecdote side, that's actually on the low end of what I've seen in the non-profit world for family coverage.
posted by Zophi at 4:18 PM on October 20, 2010

Er, make that 2005.
posted by Zophi at 4:18 PM on October 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have a couple options where I work, and they're around that for most options to cover a single person, not a family. Medical coverage is ridiculously expensive, welcome back.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:19 PM on October 20, 2010

Somewhere in this list of exhibits is your answer. It breaks down by firm size, plan type, single v family coverage, etc.

According to the Summary of Findings (.pdf), from 2000 to 2010, worker contributions increased 147%. Premiums went up 114%. See Exhibit B of the SoF for "Average Annual Employer and Worker Premium Contributions and Total Premiums for Covered Workers for Single and Family Coverage, by Plan Type, 2010."

Your cost does not sound out of line at all.

Disclaimer: I work for the place that produces this survey. I don't research or write for it. I proof it and do a light copyedit. That's it.
posted by rtha at 4:33 PM on October 20, 2010

I paid about that at my previous employer for family coverage.
posted by COD at 4:35 PM on October 20, 2010

$500 for a family plan per month is around what a number of employers are charging.

But here are some questions I have:

1) What kind of plan is it? How much are co-pays? Is there an annual deductible? What's the annual out of pocket max?

2) How much is the employer paying of the insurance? A normal split is the employer pays somewhere between 70-80%.
posted by hazyspring at 4:42 PM on October 20, 2010

Yeah, for myself I pay about $60/month for okay but not fantastic coverage, it's about $600 for family coverage. My husband's most recent employer's family* coverage was nearly $1000. My company has about 50 employees, his was something under 20. It can be a lot better at larger companies, as they have more leverage, but not always.

*In both cases, "family" was anything more than 1 person. I seem to remember spouse-only coverage years ago, but I haven't seen that in some time.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:01 PM on October 20, 2010

My last job and my current one are both in the $130/mo. range for a single person with no dental or vision. Although the actual coverage at my last job (for a large company) wasn't that bad, while my current plan (with a very small business) is one of the worst things I've seen, for almost an identical price. Other than the simplest of office visits, I may as well not have coverage at all.
posted by frobozz at 5:10 PM on October 20, 2010

I know I am not the norm, but my non-profit employer covers the entire cost of my very, very good health insurance, and only charges $100 per month to cover my partner.
posted by kimdog at 6:08 PM on October 20, 2010

Yes, that can be normal.

It can depend on a couple of things. First, it reality, we all pay for all the insurance we get. Some employers pass more of the costs on to the employee, but theoretically, they also gross more money in salary.

And it also depends on whether the organization is actually buying insurance, or whether they are self-insured.

(This is why everyone is so torqued up about health insurance costs. They are rising like crazy, but not everyone sees it. If you buy it for your family on your own, you might be paying $1500 a month for it. But if you work for a good employer or have a good union, you might only pay the copays and wonder why everyone is complaining.)
posted by gjc at 6:20 PM on October 20, 2010

I mean, you could probably come up with an "average," but really, what's the point? All that really tells you is what percentage of your take home pay you are required to contribute to your health care plan. The real question is 1) how much does your plan cost total, and 2) how much of that is your employer willing to contribute?

The reason you have to take that into account is that any money your employer is spending on health care is money they aren't putting in your paycheck. My health plan costs about $5000 a year, of which I pay about $400. Which is annoying, because I could get one off the shelf for about $1100. So rather than thinking "Yay, I get really expensive health plan for cheap!" I have to think, "Damn, I'm spending way too much on health care."
posted by valkyryn at 6:29 PM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

Just to echo; that isn't abnormal (welcome back to America!!). I only pay about $35 premium for my med cover me only. To cover my partner (just one more person) - $325. So $500 for family? Yeah, totally normal.
posted by Lutoslawski at 7:01 PM on October 20, 2010

yeah, and valkyryn's point is a really good one.
posted by Lutoslawski at 7:02 PM on October 20, 2010

Family plan in CA costs about $1150/Month. My company pays 75%. So about $290/month cost to the employee + 100% of cost for dental, vision etc. So around $400 in total.
posted by Long Way To Go at 8:12 PM on October 20, 2010

Before you left the country, was the $30/40 for just you? For just me, I pay $50/60 a month (haven't checked recently). But when you start adding spouses and children is where it really gets expensive.

The breakdown where I work is that the employer pays roughly 90% for employees and 50% for spouses and children.
posted by sbutler at 9:54 PM on October 20, 2010

The breakdown where I work is that the employer pays roughly 90% for employees and 50% for spouses and children.

See, that's the wrong way to think about it. The reality is that you're paying 100%, it's just that 10-50% of that never actually shows up in your paycheck. But it's still money the company is spending on you that you don't actually get to spend.
posted by valkyryn at 2:21 AM on October 21, 2010

The Employee Health Benefits Survey that rtha links to above is the most widely-cited source of the information you're looking for.

As you can see there, the average total cost of a family plan is about $1,100 per month, depending on whether you're getting an HMO, PPO, or HDHP plan. It varies a bit by region--the Northeast is more expensive than the West or South. On average, employers cover 70% of the cost of family coverage (and 81% of the cost of single coverage, so here again might be a difference from what you experience before).

The actual dollar figures you're looking for are here: 10 years ago, the average employee contribution to a single-person policy (assuming you weren't married back then) was $27; today, the average employee contribution to a family policy is $333. If you were single back then and covering a family now, I think it's pretty plausible that what you're seeing is pretty normal, particularly if you're living in a big city in the Northeast now. (If you're living in Boston, that's doubly true.)

On a side note, pretty soon you'll be able to know exactly how much of the premium your employer is kicking in on your behalf. One of the provisions of the new health care reform law (PPACA) is that employers must start reporting on your W-2 how much in premiums they are paying on your behalf. It will remain untaxed, but it will give you a better sense of whether your employer is being stingy compared to other employers in your field, assuming you have friends or colleagues that are willing to share their info with you. (That was supposed to go into effect with your 2011 W-2, but it looks like the IRS has granted companies an additional year to implement it, so it may be 2012 before you know exactly how much your employer is contributing.)
posted by iminurmefi at 8:46 AM on October 21, 2010

Another anecdote:
Last year, my contribution was $135 per month for a family plan with a $1000 deductible per person (3 people in my family). Charges above that are paid 75% by insurance and 25% by me. Years ago that was 80/20, but I figured costs are going up and this is not THAT bad, so ok.

This year, my contribution is $288 per month for the same family, but the deductible is now $3500 per person and I pay full price for prescriptions. Same 75/25 split for charges above the deductible. I can't wait to see what the new year package will look like.

This is for a company listed in the 500 largest worldwide companies, not some Mom and Pop. When I read about the Boeing outcry of increased costs blamed on Obamacare, I thought they were whining. Their deductible went up from $200 to $300 and they made additional costs 90/10 instead of 100% paid. Poor babies. But (as mentioned above) this is why it's so divided in America - nobody really knows who's paying what or what the averages are. And the fact that's it's all based on who you work for that makes it so infuriating. If all these plans were out on the open market with no corporate subsidy, it seems like competition would make them all cheaper.
posted by CathyG at 9:07 AM on October 21, 2010

When I worked at a benefits broker I saw a lot of family plans in $500-$750 range for premiums. Yes, costs have increased a LOT. Most Employee Only plans have a monthly premium of over $100 now.

Of course how much you pay depends on how much the company pays. What I saw a lot of was companies paying 50% (this is usually the minimum required by the insurance company to write the plan) to 100% for employee only coverage and 0-50% for dependent coverage.
posted by magnetsphere at 11:25 AM on October 21, 2010

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