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California Employer Health Benefits: Rising Costs, Shrinking Coverage

NORC at the University of Chicago

Millions of Californians with workplace-sponsored health plans are paying higher premiums and deductibles in return for reduced benefits, a survey shows.

The percentage of employers offering coverage continues to decline in California, and many covered workers are seeing reduced benefits and increased cost sharing — trends with major implications for the household budgets of millions of people.

Only 58% of firms reported providing health insurance to employees, down from 69% in 2000. The data, compiled from the 2014 California Employer Health Benefits Survey, are presented in CHCF's report, California Employer Health Benefits: Rising Costs, Shrinking Coverage. The survey found that 4 in 10 firms said they expected to increase employees' premium contributions in 2015, while 19% said they were likely to raise deductibles.

See the complete report in the interactive viewing pane below or download the PDF at the bottom of the page.

Other key findings include:

  • Larger firms and those with unionized workers were more likely to offer health coverage than smaller firms and those without collective bargaining agreements.
  • The average monthly health plan premium in California was $1,467 for family coverage and $560 for single coverage. These figures include the employer contribution.
  • California premiums, which include the employer contribution, were 11% higher than the national average for single coverage and 5% higher for family coverage. Historically, health insurance premiums in California have been lower than the national average.
  • Since 2002, health plan premiums in California rose by 189%, outpacing the 33% rise in overall inflation.
  • One in three workers in small firms faced a deductible of at least $1,000 for single coverage compared to 14% of workers at large firms.
  • In 2014, 28% of large firms reduced health benefits or increased cost sharing while only 8% of small firms did so.

The complete Almanac report and infographic are available as Document Downloads.

Almanac Updates

The CHCF Almanac regularly publishes data and analysis on California's health care market.


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