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Lower-wage workers pay more than higher-wage workers for employer-provided medical care benefits

January 14, 2019

In medical care plans that required employee contributions, lower-wage workers paid higher contributions for premiums than did higher-wage workers. In March 2018, private industry workers earning an average wage in the lowest 10 percent paid an average of $151.78 per month for medical care plans for single coverage. That was $25 more than the average monthly contributions of private industry workers with an average wage in the highest 10 percent ($126.82).

Employer and employee medical care benefit premiums for plans that require employee contributions, private industry workers by wage group, March 2018
Wage group Single coverage, average flat monthly employer premium Single coverage, average flat monthly employee contribution Family coverage, average flat monthly employer premium Family coverage, average flat monthly employee contribution

Lowest 10 percent

$398.51 $151.78 $918.30 $612.51

Lowest 25 percent

386.91 142.19 863.94 648.43

Second 25 percent

413.04 137.73 997.49 582.77

Third 25 percent

422.14 137.58 1046.43 573.10

Highest 25 percent

439.81 130.14 1125.04 512.34

Highest 10 percent

440.48 126.82 1133.85 488.27

Private industry employers in March 2018 paid less for medical care plan premiums for lower-wage workers than for workers with higher wages. Among plans that required employee contributions, employers paid an average of $398.51 per month for single coverage medical benefit premiums for workers with an average wage in the lowest 10 percent in March 2018. For the highest 10 percent of wage earners, employers paid an average of $440.48 in monthly premiums for single coverage medical care benefits.

As with single coverage medical care plans, lower-wage workers paid higher contributions for family medical care plans than did higher-wage workers. Private industry employers also paid less for premiums for lower-wage than for higher-wage workers who participated in family coverage medical care plans that require employee contributions.

Eighty-six percent of private industry workers with employer-provided medical care benefits were in plans that required employees to contribute toward the premiums for single coverage. For family coverage, 93 percent of workers with medical care benefits were in plans that required employee contributions.

These data are from the National Compensation Survey — Benefits program. For more information, see “Employee Benefits in the United States, March 2018” and our glossary of employee benefit terms.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Lower-wage workers pay more than higher-wage workers for employer-provided medical care benefits on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2019/lower-wage-workers-pay-more-than-higher-wage-workers-for-employer-provided-medical-care-benefits.htm (visited December 13, 2019).

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