What Percentage of Health Insurance Do Employers Pay?

Most employers still pay most of the cost of their employees' health premiums.
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On average, employers paid approximately 71 percent of the health insurance premiums for family coverage as of 2014, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. With growing health care costs, both employers' and employees' contributions have increased. The employer contribution varies due to several factors, including the type of coverage -- family or single -- company size, average wage, variety of plan and the type of work.


Family or Single Coverage

As of 2014, the average total annual premium for employment-related family health coverage was $16,834, and the employer's 71 percent contribution came to $12,011, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation report. In 2004, both the employer and employee paid less, but the employer's share was 73 percent.


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The average total premium for single coverage in 2014 was $6,025 annually, of which employers paid 82 percent.

Company Size

Most employers require their workers to pay at least part of their health insurance premiums. As of 2014, companies with three to 199 employees paid an average of 84 percent of the premiums for single coverage, while larger firms paid an average of 81 percent.


For family coverage, employers in small firms paid 65 percent of the premium, while larger employers paid 73 percent.

High and Low-Wage Workers

As of 2014, firms with a large proportion of low-wage employees covered a smaller percentage of premium costs, according to the Kaiser report. In businesses where 35 percent or more of employees received $23,000 per year or less, employers paid 73 percent of premium costs for single coverage and 56 percent for family policies. In companies with higher-paid workers, the employer contribution averaged 82 percent for single coverage and 72 percent for family policies.


The Most Common Plans

In 2014, 58 percent of workers with employer-provided insurance were enrolled in preferred provider organization plans, or PPOs, according to the Kaiser report. In these plans, employers paid approximately 82 percent of the premiums on average for single coverage, while they paid approximately 72 percent for family coverage. PPO plans allow you to use any provider, but your cost is lower if you stay within the plan's network.


As of 2014, 20 percent of health plan participants chose high-deductible insurance with a savings plan option. The amounts employers paid were similar to PPO plans -- 83 percent of the premiums for a single plan and approximately 72 percent for the family plan. High deductible plans require you to pay a larger amount before the insurance pays. The savings option allows you to set aside pre-tax money for medical costs that aren't covered.


Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics examined health insurance premium payments for family plans in its 2014 National Compensation Survey. Employers in private industry paid 68 percent of premiums on average, while state and local government paid 71 percent. Taken together, these two groups paid an average of 69 percent of premium costs. This overall average is 2 percent lower than the Kaiser study average of 71 percent for family coverage.


On average, employers in the BLS survey paid 70 percent of family plan premiums for management and professional workers, but only 65 percent for service workers. They paid an average of 67 percent for sales and office workers.

Employers in the survey paid 81 percent of family premiums on average for union workers, but only 66 percent for nonunion workers.