Premiums Adjusted for Value of Health Benefits Vary Widely by Firm Size and State

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<p>Employees in the smallest U.S. firms pay, on average, 18 percent more in health insurance premiums than those in firms with 1,000 or more workers, when actuarial value--the percentage of total medical expenses paid by a health plan--is taken into account, a new <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=22078&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D371983%26%23doc371983">Commonwealth Fund-supported study</a> finds. The study, led by Jon Gabel, M.A., vice president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, and colleagues, was published in the May/June issue of the journal <em>Health Affairs.</em><br><BR>The researchers found that employees in states with large urban populations, such as California, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania, tend to get more value for their premium dollar than those in rural states.<br><br>The study authors found that type of health insurance plan is more significant than type or size of employer in determining the generosity of coverage and adjusted premium prices. "Many employers are considering adopting high-deductible health plans to dampen consumers' demand for health care services," the authors conclude. But managed care plans with more modest levels of cost-sharing, such as HMOs, yield better value and will likely continue to represent an important alternative for both employers and employees, they say.</p>