KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Study Finds Big Range In State Workers’ Health Costs

A first-of-its-kind study by two charitable organizations found that states paid nearly $31 billion on employee insurance last year - making it the second largest category of state health care spending after Medicaid. But the costs borne by state workers varied widely.

The Washington Post: States Spent Nearly $31 Billion On Employee Health Insurance Last Year
States paid nearly $31 billion to insure their employees last year, according to a new Pew Charitable Trusts study. The study offers a window into what is one of the largest sources of state health care spending, second only to Medicaid spending. On average, states spent $808 in premium payments per employee per month, Pew finds. But that number varied widely by state — in part due to factors policymakers can control, and in part to those they cannot (Chokshi, 8/12).

Politico Pro: Report Finds Big Range In State Workers’ Health Premiums
Health premiums for state employees vary by hundreds of dollars monthly across the country, according to a report released Tuesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. State workers in places such as Arkansas, Mississippi and South Carolina had plan premiums that cost between $450 and $650 a month last year. Their counterparts in New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont and Wisconsin had some of the highest premiums, exceeding $1,300 monthly. The two organizations enlisted Milliman Inc. to examine state employee health plans after concluding that little was known about how those plans compared to one another and with other plan types within a specific jurisdiction (Villacorta, 8/12).

The Associated Press: California Offers Workers Generous Health Benefits
Health insurance plans offered to state employees in California and elsewhere are relatively generous, with government picking up a large share of deductibles and co-pays, according to a report released Tuesday. The report by The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation was a first-of-its kind survey of state government health insurance plans nationwide. It found that state plans paid on average 92 percent of a typical enrollee's health care costs, which is equivalent to the best offerings — "platinum" plans — that the public can purchase on one of the new health insurance exchanges (Verdin, 8/12).

The Associated Press: Idaho Gives State Workers Premium Health Coverage
Idaho's employee health insurance plans are comparable to the federal government's most expensive option offered under the Affordable Care Act and better than what most private companies provide, according to a report released Tuesday. The report from the Pew Charitable Trusts says Idaho covers 93 percent of all medical costs for state employees. The report is the first of its kind to shine light on states' largest source of health care spending, second only to Medicaid spending (Kruesi, 8/12).

The Associated Press: State Workers in Arizona Get ‘Platinum’ Insurance
A new study released Tuesday shows most states provide their employees with health insurance that most private workers would envy — and Arizona is no exception. The study by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the MacArthur Foundation shows the vast majority of people employed by the state of Arizona are enrolled in a zero-deductible plan that would be considered a "platinum" plan under the Affordable Care Act (Christie, 8/12).

Miami Herald: Health Insurance For State Employees Gets Another Look
Compared to other states, Florida’s health insurance plan for government employees is about average. It doesn’t have the cheapest premiums or the most expensive. The state is generous to its employees, but not to an extreme. The implementation of federal health care reform has caused more states to analyze spending and a national study released Tuesday provides a snapshot of each state, including how much public workers pay for health coverage and what they get in return (Mitchell, 8/12).

The Oregonian: Oregon Has Comparatively High Health Insurance Costs For State Workers, National Study Shows
A first-of-its kind study shows that Oregon provides some of the richest health insurance benefits for state employees from around the country. The study released Tuesday by two major charitable foundations shows that Oregon's per-employee premium costs in 2013 were a third higher than the national average and were the sixth highest of the 49 states studied (Mapes, 8/12).

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