The average cost of New Yorkers’ health benefits increased by less than the national average in 2019 but remained among the highest in the U.S., according to recently published federal data.

The average cost for family coverage rose 4 percent to $22,874, which was 12 percent above the national average and second only to Alaska, according to an annual survey of private-sector employers by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (see first chart).

The average cost of single coverage rose 2 percent to $7,890, which was 13 percent above the national average and third behind Alaska and Delaware.

Those increases were a bit lower than the nationwide jumps of 5 percent for family coverage and 4 percent for single coverage.

Still, all of those figures were two or three times the general inflation rate – continuing a long-term pattern for New York and the U.S.

New York’s insurance has traditionally been more expensive than national norms, but the gap has been getting wider in recent decades (see second chart).

The state’s high cost of living is likely a factor, especially in the New York City area. State policy also drives up premiums by heavily taxing health insurance and continually adding to a long list of coverage mandates.

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

 

About the Author

Bill Hammond

As the Empire Center’s senior fellow for health policy, Bill Hammond tracks fast-moving developments in New York’s massive health care industry, with a focus on how decisions made in Albany and Washington affect the well-being of patients, providers, taxpayers and the state’s economy.

Read more by Bill Hammond

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