Spouses and children often cost group health plans more than the active employees do.

Advanced Plan for Health, Irving, Texas, a health cost control firm, says costs associated with dependents were higher than employee costs at its client employers both in 2007 and 2008.

Dependent husbands are the most expensive, the firm reports.

The average 40-year-old male active employee has about $281 in medical costs per month, but a 40-year-old dependent male will have about $422 in medical costs per month, the firm says.

One lesson is that employers need to make sure that dependents have as much access to wellness and condition management programs as active employees do, the firm says.

In other health coverage statistics news:

- A unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka, Minn., found that college-age Americans do value health insurance.

The researchers commissioned a poll of 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18 to 21.

About 82% of the participants said health insurance is a necessity, and 68% said health benefits will be as important as salary when they are looking for work.

Only 18% of the participants said they do not need coverage because they are healthy.

But 26% of the participants covered by their parents’ plans said they did not know when their coverage would end, and 87% said they would like to hear more about health insurance from schools and teachers.

- Silverlink Communications Inc., Burlington, Mass., found when it commissioned a survey of 1,541 U.S. adults that 76% said people’s health is within their own control.

About half of the participants said they would change their health behavior if that could help them save at least $350 per month.

But people in fair or poor health were much less likely than other participants to say that an individual’s health is within that individual’s control, the researchers report.