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Study finds employees in Florida pay among the highest rates for health insurance

The Commonwealth Fund

Employees in Florida paid more for their health insurance in 2020 than workers in nearly every other state, a new study from The Commonwealth Fund found.

The study compared employee health insurance costs, including insurance premiums and deductibles.

The average amount that Florida workers paid for premiums – which come out of their paychecks – and deductibles was $9,284 in 2020, or 16% of the state’s median income. Ten years ago, Florida’s workers paid $5,205 – or 11% of the state’s median income.

One reason the state’s health insurance costs are so high is because Florida’s employers are not covering as much of the costs as employers in other parts of the country, said Sara Collins, the study’s lead author and a vice president for Commonwealth.

Overall, the cost of health insurance in Florida is comparable to the rest of the country. But employees here have to shoulder a greater burden.

“Workers in Florida pay a greater percentage of that premium — one of the highest in the country,” Collins said. “And then median income in Florida is lower than the national average, actually significantly lower. So it's really a perfect storm for high cost burdens.”

With more money spent on insurance there’s less room for workers to spend on other necessities, Collins said.

“We know from some of our survey data that people struggle to pay their health care costs by making trade offs with other parts of their budgets, less on food, maybe different housing, delaying getting education,” Collins said.

Collins said it's especially burdensome to people who make less money.

And the problem has gotten worse over the past decade. In 2010, Floridians spent 10% of their median income on health insurance premiums and deductibles. Now, it’s over 16%.

Nationally, health insurance costs accounted for 11.6% of median U.S. household income in 2020, compared to 9.1% in 2010.

But the study found that families in Florida were hit harder than any other state. On average, employees opting for family coverage had to pay 37 percent of their overall premiums, or $7,674. That was the highest in the nation.

The state’s employees who opted for single coverage averaged the third highest rates in the nation – $1,811.

Florida’s health insurance deductibles – or the amount an employee has to pay before the insurance kicks in – averaged $2,147, placing it among the 14th highest in the nation.

The study suggested solutions to the national problems, such as expanding Medicaid eligibility and providing more subsidies for insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace.

“Solving this problem will require policy actions to extend affordable health insurance coverage to all Americans,” said David Blumentahal, president of The Commonwealth Fund. “But we also need to get at the root, which are the high costs that make health care so expensive for everyone."

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Katrine Bruner