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Health Plan Premiums Vary Widely by State

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, September 3, 2009

The set of tables was issued without a companion report, an unusual occurrence for the agency, Branscome acknowledged. "We will get around to doing a paper on this, but for now, we wanted people to know these special tables exist, and how the distributions have changed."

The state-by-state breakdown shows average costs for employees and employers depending on whether the plan covers a single person, a single person plus one, or a single person and his or her family.

The tables break down each state's premium payments in five categories to show how the most expensive plans in the state compared with the least expensive.

Other highlights show that for the nation as a whole, 10% of covered workers, or about 2 million—had family plans that cost $17,000 per year or more. The average annual premium for a family plan in 2008 was $12,298.

The cost figures may also vary depending on how much competition there is in each state. In a large number of states, for example, one or two insurance companies dominate the market, reducing the amount of price and plan competition.

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.

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