New Jersey companies pay more for their employee's health insurance benefits
than those in any other state.
The average bill for employee health insurance topped $7,000 last year in New Jersey, forcing a sizable number of small companies to abandon health coverage, according to the New Jersey Business & Industry Association's annual employer benefits survey.
Small companies surveyed saw the biggest jump in costs last year, an increase of $813, or 12 percent, to an average of $7,444. By comparison, companies with 100 or more employees had their health costs rise by $601, or 9 percent, to an average of $6,969.
The Garden State had the highest average spending for employee health benefits in 2004, at $7,670 per worker, according to a survey of companies with 500 or more employees released last November by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. The national average was $6,679.
Why, you might ask, is New Jersey stuck with the highest medical insurance costs in the country? The Star-Ledger doesn’t say, but maybe this should give us a hint:
The association said it is working with members of the state Legislature to support pending bills that would give small businesses more flexibility in the state-regulated insurance plans they buy.
Association officials also are working with the administration of Acting Gov. Richard J. Codey to try to block the latest proposed insurance mandate. Codey last week backed a report recommending that insurers be required to cover the same level of mental health services as treatments for physical illnesses — a mandate the association said many companies simply cannot