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Employee and employer premiums for medical care benefits in 2017

April 02, 2018

April 2 is National Employee Benefits Day. Medical care coverage is typically one of the most expensive benefits for employers to provide. It’s not cheap for employees either. The median monthly premium paid by employees of small (1 to 49 workers) private establishments for single coverage was $127.75 in 2017. That compares with $100.00 for single coverage in small state and local government organizations. Government employees in large organizations (500 workers or more) paid a median premium of $433.08 for family coverage, while private industry workers paid $363.00. 

Monthly median employee contribution for medical care benefits, by type of coverage and size of establishment, March 2017
Establishment size Private industry, family coverage State and local government, family coverage Private industry, single coverage State and local government, single coverage

1 to 49 workers

$490.06 $413.51 $127.75 $100.00

50 to 99 workers

511.69 306.56 123.28 87.99

100 to 499 workers

454.36 355.04 116.08 85.00

500 workers or more

363.00 433.08 115.83 88.17

The share of medical care premium costs the employer pays is usually larger for state and local governments than for private industry employers in nearly all establishment sizes. The employer’s share ranged from 70 to 88 percent for governments and 62 to 81 percent for private employers. For single coverage, the premium share was 88 percent for small government employers and 78 percent for small private establishments. For family coverage in establishments with 500 employees or more, governments paid 70 percent of the premium and private employers paid 76 percent. 

Employer share of premiums for medical care benefits, by type of coverage and size of establishment, March 2017
Establishment size Private industry, family coverage State and local government, family coverage Private industry, single coverage State and local government, single coverage

1 to 49 workers

64% 72% 78% 88%

50 to 99 workers

62 73 77 86

100 to 499 workers

66 71 79 87

500 workers or more

76 70 81 86

Differences in premiums between private industry and government may stem from the different types of work these organizations do. For example, manufacturing and sales make up a large part of private industry work but are rare in state and local governments. Administrative support and professional occupations (including teachers) account for two-thirds of the state and local government workforce, compared with half of private industry.

These data are from the National Compensation Survey — Benefits program. To learn more, see our most recent annual bulletin on benefits. For definitions of the terms related to employee benefits, see our glossary.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Employee and employer premiums for medical care benefits in 2017 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2018/employee-and-employer-premiums-for-medical-care-benefits-in-2017.htm (visited October 28, 2020).

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