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Kansas State Employees Get Discount Health Care

By   /   September 9, 2010  /   1 Comment

Kansas state government employees are getting a sweet deal on health insurance compared to most taxpayers. They pay a much smaller share of premiums than national averages for private sector employees and even for state and local government employees.

Data obtained from the Kansas Health Policy Authority show that, on average, employees electing single coverage pay only six percent of the cost of their health care; employee contributions for all other coverage types (employee plus spouse, employee plus children and family) average 23 percent.

Nationwide, state and government employees pay a smaller portion of monthly health coverage premiums than private industry employees according to a 2010 study (pdf) by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & Educational Trust.

State and local government employees pay an average of nine percent for single coverage and 25 percent for family coverage while the average for all industries (including government) is 19 and 30 percent, respectively.  The Kaiser study includes all non-single coverage types in their family statistics.

If Kansas government employees contributed at the national averages (19 percent and 30 percent), taxpayers could save $29.8 million each year at the current participation and premium rates.  The savings could be considerably higher if paying a larger portion of their premium prompted some employees to elect less expensive plans.  Currently, 82.7% of employees elect the most expensive plan offered but only 0.2% elect coverage with the lowest premiums.

Kansas offers employees a wide range of options from multiple providers with prices that vary by as much as 24%.

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During his 28-year journalism career Soutar worked for the Associated Press, the Detroit Free Press, Detroit News and Knight Ridder Newspapers in Washington, D.C. From 1990 to 2008 he worked for the Wichita Eagle as a photo and graphics editor, producing special sections and writing stories on various subjects. He has received numerous international, national and regional journalism and design awards. Before his journalism career Soutar served in the U.S. Navy photographing and writing about events in the Western Pacific and Indian oceans.