What Percentage of Income Do Americans Spend on Health Insurance?

Low-margin businesses may demand employees pay higher monthly premiums for health insurance.

Low-margin businesses may demand employees pay higher monthly premiums for health insurance.

According to a 2012 article published by PBS NewsHour, the United States spends $8,233 per person each year on health care. That amount encompasses 17.6 percent of the gross domestic product. The percentage that comes out of your income for health insurance depends on where you live, your age, your health status and the type of coverage.

Average Monthly Cost

In a November 2011 press release, eHealth Insurance says that families in the U.S. paid an average of $414 per month for their own health insurance policies in 2011. In that same year, families paid an average deductible of $3,879 for their own health plans. Based on that monthly average, the percentage that would come out of your paycheck depends on your earnings. For instance, if you make $2,400 monthly and pay $414 for your own family plan, your premium would be 17.25 percent of your monthly income. eHealth Insurance also notes that between February 2010 and February 2011, family plan premiums grew by an average of 5.6 percent and individual plans increased by 9.6 percent. Family plan deductibles increased by 9.9 percent, and individual deductibles grew by 11.5 percent.

Employee Cost

According to a 2013 article published by the Wall Street Journal, health insurance premiums have increased by over 100 percent over the past decade. During that period, the percentage of Americans who have employer-sponsored health insurance dropped by 10 percent. When employers do offer health insurance, they generally pay between 50 and 80 percent of the cost, says Philly.com. If your employer pays 80 percent of the tab and you earn $2,400 monthly, your share of 20 percent would amount to $480 monthly.


In its projections for 2011 to 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services predicted that health care spending for 2012 and 2013 will respectively increase moderately at 4.2 percent and 3.8 percent. Private health insurance cost is expected to increase on average at 3.5 percent. The increase in private health insurance stems from low income growth, employers’ trying to control health insurance costs and the expiration of many prescription drug patents.

Comparison by Country

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reports that the U.S. spends much more on health care than other countries, says PBS NewsHour. Norway, the Netherlands and Switzerland are next in line, spending at least $3,000 less per individual; this is significantly less than the $8,233 the U.S. spent per person in 2010.

Common Coverages

In its February 2011 study, eHealth Insurance notes that nearly 100 percent of individual and family plans had lab, X-ray and emergency room coverage. Most of these policy holders also bought prescription, chiropractic, preventive care, well-child care and periodic exam coverage.


About the Author

Grace Ferguson has been writing professionally since 2009. With 10 years of experience in employee benefits and payroll administration, Ferguson has written extensively on topics relating to employment and finance. A research writer as well, she has been published in The Sage Encyclopedia and Mission Bell Media.

Photo Credits

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