Alaska Employers Pay More for Health Insurance Than Any Other


The average cost of providing health insurance to US workers varies considerably between states. A survey of more than 10,000 small to mid-sized employers finds that those in Alaska pay more per employee than any other state in the nation.

The 2011 United Benefits Advisors Health Plan Survey was conducted between October 4, 2010 and June 3, 2011. About 16,000 health insurance plans were evaluated. The average cost per worker in the state of Alaska was $11,926 per year, significantly above the national average of $8,688 per employee per year.

According to eHealthInsurance Services Inc., a leading online source of health insurance for both individuals and small business, some of the larger insurers in the state of Alaska include Premera (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska), Celtic, Aetna, and ODS Alaska.

After Alaska, the next most expensive states in the nation for employer-sponsored insurance were New York ($11,308), Massachusetts ($11,004), Connecticut ($11,000) and New Jersey ($10,642).

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On the lower end of the health-insurance spectrum, Mississippi employers paid the lowest cost per employee at $6,282, followed by Arkansas ($6,741), Kentucky ($6,801), Idaho ($7,029) and Arizona ($7,119).

A more detailed report will be issued by United Benefits Advisors on November 1st, but the reasons for the high cost of insurance in Alaska may be due to the type of insurance provided. Most employees across the board were enrolled in preferred provider organization (PPO) plans, which offer the employee greater flexibility and choice in health care providers, but at a greater cost.

Other factors in higher health care costs include increased spending on medical care, increases in prices charged by hospitals and doctors and a growing use of expensive new drugs and technologies.

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When costs for health benefits increase, many business may choose to drop coverage for employees, forcing the workers to seek outside insurance companies for health insurance. Earlier this year, McKinsey and Company predicted that 30% of US employers are likely to discontinue offering health insurance benefits by 2014 when the new health care reform law takes full effect.

The Alaska Comprehensive Health Insurance Association (ACHIA) has been set up to provide residents health insurance to those who are unable to obtain individual health insurance. For more information, customers can call 1-888-290-0616 or visit