Commercial Insurance: Premiums and Member Cost-Sharing

Key Premiums Data for 2018

Health Care Premiums in Massachusetts

Key Member Cost-Sharing Data for 2018

Member Cost Sharing in Massachusetts

For More Information on Commercial Insurance, see CHIA's 2018 Annual Report

CHIA annual report 2018 cover

CHIA collects annual commercial health insurance premiums data from health care payers, allowing for insights into the costs borne by both Massachusetts employers and employees. CHIA also monitors high deductible health plan enrollment and consumer cost-sharing over time. These measures are reported in CHIA's Annual Report on the Performance of the Massachusetts Health Care System.


Commercial Insurance Premiums are costs borne by the majority of individuals under 65 years old, both in Massachusetts and nationally.  These individuals are usually  enrolled in employer sponsored insurance, where both the employer and the employee make premium contributions to a commercial payer for an employee’s health plan. Health care payers use the premiums to pay for their member's medical expenses. Payers also retain a portion of the premium to cover administrative expenses, reserves, commissions, contributions to surpluses and profits, premium taxes, and medical management expenses.


Commercial Insurance Member Cost-Sharing includes all medical expenses allowed under a member’s plan but not paid for by the payer, employer, or CSR subsidies (e.g., deductibles, copays, and co-insurance). CHIA also reports on member cost-sharing by market sector, product type (HMO, PPO, POS), funding type, and benefit design type (HDHP, tiered network, limited network).

Cost-sharing research and data is also included in findings from CHIA’s Massachusetts Health Insurance Surveys (MHIS). The survey findings reflect the impacts of medical costs on Massachusetts households with all forms of insurance coverage (including private commercial, MassHealth, and Medicare) as well as the uninsured.

Please note: Figures in CHIA's  2018 Annual Report are inclusive of members who incurred little to no medical costs as well as those who may have experienced substantial medical costs. However, these figures do not include out-of-pocket payments for goods and services not covered by the members’ health insurance policies (e.g.,over-the-counter medicines, vision, and dental care). Member cost-sharing also does not account for employer offsets, such as health reimbursement arrangements or health savings accounts.


Key Premiums and Member Cost-Sharing Findings
from CHIA's 2018 Annual Report on the Performance of the Massachusetts Health Care System

  • Annual growth in fully-insured premiums accelerated—from 2.0% in 2016 to 4.9% in 2017. Small group members experienced the largest percentage increase (+6.9%) in 2017.


  • Benefit levels were associated with premium costs across market sectors. Cost-sharing reduction subsidies increased effective benefit levels for ConnectorCare members.


  • Premium trends from 2016 to 2017 varied substantially by payer, ranging from a 10.9% decrease for Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan (BMCHP) members to a 16.5% increase for Neighborhood Health Plan (NHP) members.


  • Commercial contract member medical costs grew more slowly from 2016 to 2017 than in the previous year. Medical costs for self-insured members remained higher than fully-insured medical costs.

  • Between 2016 and 2017, private commercial member cost-sharing increased by 5.7% to $52 PMPM—an acceleration from the previous year’s growth rate of 4.3%.


  • Member cost-sharing continued to be higher among smaller employer groups, while subsidies helped minimize cost-sharing burdens for ConnectorCare members.

  • Members enrolled in high deductible health plans paid $81 PMPM in cost-sharing in 2017, over twice what members of lower deductible plans paid.

  • In 2017, 8.8% of Massachusetts survey respondents were underinsured, spending 10%+ of their family income on out-of- pocket health care expenses despite having insurance.



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