The Commonwealth Fund: Trends in Employer Health Care Coverage, 2008–2018: Higher Costs for Workers and Their Families

The Commonwealth Fund: Trends in Employer Health Care Coverage, 2008–2018: Higher Costs for Workers and Their Families

Health care costs are a top concern for voters as the nation heads into the 2020 presidential election.1 Many people — an estimated 164 million under age 65, or roughly half the population of the United States — have insurance through employers.2 Sensing this concern, some Democratic presidential candidates and members of Congress have proposed ways to reduce the costs of health insurance and care. These have included proposals that would aid people in employer plans.

To examine trends in employer coverage over the past decade, we used data from the federal Medical Expenditure Panel Survey–Insurance Component (MEPS–IC), and asked: How much are workers spending on premiums and deductibles? How do those costs compare to median income in each state? To smooth year-to-year fluctuations, we examine two-year moving averages across the decade. The MEPS–IC, the most comprehensive national survey of U.S. businesses on their health insurance plans, surveyed more than 40,000 private-sector employers in 2018.3

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