2021 Edition — California Employer Health Benefits

Are Workers Covered?

Heidi Whitmore, NORC at the University of Chicago
Jennifer Satorius, NORC at the University of Chicago


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Between 2000 and 2020, the percentage of employers offering health benefits declined in California from 69% to 60%. Workers are shouldering more of the cost for their health benefits, paying both a larger share of premiums and higher deductibles and copays. The prevalence of plans with deductibles over $1,000 increased from 6% in 2006 to 54% in 2020, largely due to enrollment shifts into different plan types.

California Employer Health Benefits: Are Workers Covered? presents data compiled from the 2020 California Employer Health Benefits Survey.

Key findings from the 2020 survey:

  • Forty-five percent of Californians pay more than 25% of the premium for single coverage, compared to 21% of workers nationally.
  • The average monthly health insurance premium in California, including the employer contribution, was $653 for single coverage and $1,717 for family coverage.
  • Seventy-two percent of workers in small firms (3 to 199 workers) faced an annual deductible of at least $1,000 for single coverage, compared to 48% of workers in larger firms.
  • About one in eight firms (13%) that employ many workers with lower wages (those earning $25,000 or less) offered health coverage to employees in 2020.
  • In the past year, 14% of California firms reported that they increased cost sharing for their workers.
  • Twenty-four percent of California firms stated they are “very likely” to increase the amount workers pay for premiums in 2022.

 

The California Employer Health Benefits Survey is a joint product of CHCF and the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago. The survey was designed and analyzed by researchers at NORC and administered by National Research.

The full report and data file are available for download below. These materials are part of CHCF’s California Health Care Almanac, an online clearinghouse for key data and analyses describing the state’s health care landscape. See our entire collection of current and past editions of California Employer Health Benefits.