Originally posted by United Benefit Advisors (UBA).

UBA Health Plan Survey: Best and Worst States for Group Health Insurance

United Benefit Advisors Announces Top 5 Best and Worst States for Group Health Care Costs

Employer-sponsored health insurance is greatly affected by geographic region, industry, and employer size. While some cost trends have been fairly consistent since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was put in place, United Benefit Advisors (UBA) finds several surprises in their 2016 Health Plan Survey.

Based on responses from more than 11,000 employers, UBA announces the top five best and worst states for group health care costs.

The top five best (least expensive) states are: 1) Hawaii, 2) Idaho, 3) Utah, 4) Arkansas, and 5) Mississippi.

Hawaii, a perennial low-cost leader, actually experienced a nearly seven percent decrease in their single coverage in 2016. New Mexico, a state that was a low-cost winner in 2015, saw a 22 percent increase in monthly premiums for singles and nearly a 30 percent increase in monthly family premiums, dropping them from the “best” list.

The top five worst (most expensive) states are: 1) Alaska, 2) Wyoming, 3) New York, 4) Vermont, and 5) New Jersey.

Wyoming catapulted itself onto the list this year with monthly premiums for singles and families increasing from $534 and $1,326, respectively in 2015 to $662 and $1,453, respectively in 2016 (representing nearly a 24 percent increase in single coverage and nearly a 10 percent increase in family coverage).

Group-Size Trends
After being hit the hardest in recent years, UBA finds small employer costs are lower than average overall, but family plans among these groups saw big rate hikes in 2016, making it harder for small businesses to be family-friendly employers.

Industry Cost Trends
According to the UBA Health Plan Survey, retail and construction employees are the cheapest to cover and employees in these sectors pick up more of the premium, so employers bear even less of the already low costs. Government employees get the richest and priciest plans, but are slowly being asked to pay more of the cost (albeit still far less than what other private sector employees pay).

For further information about regional differences, UBA provides several free resources, including:

For a custom benchmarking report, contact a UBA Partner Firm near you.