Workers in most states spend over 10% of wages on health coverage

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In 37 states, 10 percent or more of workers' median income goes toward health insurance premiums and deductibles, a Jan. 12 analysis by the Commonwealth Fund found.

The study analyzed state-by-state trends from 2010 to 2020 of private sector employer health insurance premiums and deductibles for those under 65 years of age.

Ten takeaways:

1. Between 2010 and 2020, premium and deductible costs as a percentage of medium income rose from 9.1 percent of a worker's income to 11.6 percent. On average in 2020, premiums cost 6.9 percent of a worker's income and deductibles cost 4.7 percent. 

2. Between 2015 and 2019, spending per-person on employer health plan coverage rose 22 percent, outpacing inflation and economic growth. 

3. Employees in the lowest quartile of average wages paid the most for family premiums. Compared to the national average of $5,978, those in the bottom 25 percent of average wages paid $6,911. Only those in the top 25 percent of average wages paid less than the national average. 

4. In 2020, 37 states saw premium and deductible costs exceed 10 percent of median income — up from 10 states in 2010. 

5. Workers contributing the most of their incomes to healthcare coverage were middle-class workers in Mississippi and New Mexico, contributing 19 percent and 18 percent of their incomes, respectively. Louisiana, Oklahoma and Florida also ranked among the states where coverage costs consumed more than 15 percent of median employee income. 

6. Hawaii was the state with the lowest employee contribution to health coverage, with contributions making up 9.4 percent of the state's median employee income. 

7. The national average premium contribution for a single person was $1,532. North Carolina had the most expensive average ($1,895) and Hawaii had the lowest ($852).

8. Florida had the highest average family premium contribution at $7,674, with Washignton having the lowest at $4,610. The national average was $5,978. 

9. The national average deductible contribution for a single person was $1,945. Montana represented the highest state average ($2,517) while Hawaii represented the lowest ($1,346)

10. To combat health insurance costs outpacing wages, the study's authors said the Biden administration's Build Back Better plan would provide the most advancements to the Affordable Care Act, providing employees with subsidized alternatives to increasingly-expensive workplace plans.

"Employer health insurance is taking a big bite out of many working families' incomes, leaving them with less money to spend on housing and food, and saddling millions with medical debt," said Sara Collins, the study's lead author. "But policy solutions are available, including making the Build Back Better Act's temporary coverage enhancements permanent and fixing the Affordable Care Act's family coverage glitch."

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