State employees enjoy comparatively “rich” employer-sponsored health coverage, but coverage and the employees’ share in the cost vary widely from state to state. However, research commissioned by the Pew Charitable Trust and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation revealed state employees in general contributed 10 percent less in paying for their coverage than the average for all employees who had employer-sponsored coverage in the U.S.
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The State Health Care Spending Project was an attempt to “provide policymakers and other stakeholders with information on state employee health care expenditures, as well as the factors underlying this spending,” the nonprofit partners said in a release. The project had two motivating factors:
- Health insurance costs are now “a significant portion of states’ overall health care spending, second only to Medicaid;” and
- “Little has been known about how states’ employee health plans and costs compare with one another and with those of large, private sector employers.”
In the U.S. as a whole in 2012, researchers found that employer-sponsored health coverage totaled $865 billion and insured 169 million people, accounting for 31 percent of all health care spending in the U.S. Of that total, public and private employers contributed 73 percent. Employees paid 27 percent.
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States, meantime, require much less cost-sharing of their covered employees.