What Does It Mean When A Company Pays 100% of Premiums?

Some employers offer health plans where they cover 100% of the insurance premium costs for their employees. This means the company pays the full monthly premium charges, and the employee has no payroll deduction or other out-of-pocket costs for their health coverage.

But what exactly does 100% employer-paid premiums mean, and what are the implications for employees and businesses? This comprehensive guide explains the key details.

What Are Health Insurance Premiums?

First, it helps to understand what health insurance premiums are.

Premiums are the monthly fees charged by an insurance company for coverage. This provides access to the insurer’s network of doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies.

Premium costs are based on factors like:

  • Plan type (HMO, PPO, etc)

  • Deductibles, copays, coinsurance

  • Covered services and prescription drugs

  • Age of members

  • Geographic location

For employer group plans, the company and employees share premium expenses. Individuals buying their own plan pay the full premium amount.

What Does 100% Employer-Paid Premiums Mean?

If a company pays 100% of premiums, it means:

  • The employer covers the full monthly premium charges

  • Employees pay $0 toward premium costs via payroll deduction

  • Applies to health, dental, and vision plans offered

  • For employee-only coverage (not dependents)

With 100% paid premiums, employees avoid a big chunk of health insurance costs. But the tradeoffs versus alternatives should be considered.

The Pros of 100% Employer Premium Coverage

Here are some of the key benefits when an employer fully covers premiums:

More Take-Home Pay

  • Since premiums are $0, employees get more net pay in each paycheck

Simple Payroll

  • No need to deduct medical premiums from employee paychecks

Recruiting Incentive

  • Helps attract talent by offering rich benefits

Employee Loyalty

  • Shows employees they are valued and invested in

Boost Morale

  • Employees appreciate the financial assistance with a major expense

For many workers, not having to pay health insurance premiums provides substantial savings and peace of mind.

Potential Downsides to Consider

While attractive at first glance, some drawbacks come with full employer premium coverage:

Higher Overall Plan Costs

  • The total premium is expensive when completely employer-paid

Administrative Burden

  • More work for HR managing 100% company-paid plans

Less Cost Awareness

  • Employees may utilize benefits less judiciously

Benefits Imbalance

  • High premium coverage but still deductibles and copays

Retention Risk

  • Employees stay just for rich benefits


  • Paying full premiums is not always the optimal use of dollars

The cons don’t necessarily outweigh the pros but should be evaluated.

What Does This Mean for Employees?

For employees, having 100% of health insurance premiums paid by their employer means:

  • No premium costs deducted from paychecks

  • Potentially more take-home pay

  • No need to budget for premium expenses

  • Maintain coverage without premium payroll deductions if lose job

  • No tax benefits for premiums since they aren’t paying them

While employees save on premiums, deductibles, copays, and coinsurance often still apply. And they miss out on tax incentives for personally funding premiums.

How Does This Impact Employers?

Here are some key impacts for companies covering 100% of employee premiums:

  • Increased health plan expenses

  • Need to absorb premium costs in budgets

  • Higher value benefits for recruitment and retention

  • Administrative work managing premium payments

  • Potentially less turnover due to rich benefits

  • No leverage to adjust employee portions of premiums

It’s a major investment for employers, but can be positioned as an attractive workplace perk. Companies considering it should run analyses to determine if it makes financial sense for their situation.

What Kinds of Health Plans Apply?

Typically, 100% employer payment of premiums applies to:

  • Medical insurance (HMO, PPO, etc)

  • Dental insurance

  • Vision insurance

It usually does not include:

  • Voluntary benefits like disability or life insurance

  • Employee assistance programs (EAPs)

  • Health savings accounts (HSAs)

  • Health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs)

  • Wellness programs

So core medical, dental, and vision are covered. But voluntary and ancillary benefits are not.

How Do Employee Contributions Work?

With 100% paid premiums, employees contribute nothing toward the monthly premium costs. But they are still responsible for other potential out-of-pocket costs:

  • Deductibles if the plan has them

  • Copays when receiving medical services

  • Coinsurance percentages

  • Out-of-pocket maximums

  • Anything exceeding plan coverage limits

  • Non-covered services the plan excludes

Employees should understand their cost-sharing beyond just the premiums.

Can Dependents Be Covered?

Employers paying 100% of premiums typically only apply it toward employee-only coverage. Adding dependents like:

  • Spouses

  • Domestic partners

  • Children

Usually requires the employee pays a portion or all of the premium increase. Companies reserve 100% funding for just the employee.

But some firms may cover dependents partially or fully. It depends on their specific benefits policy.

How Is This Communicated to Employees?

Companies should promote 100% paid premiums as a workplace benefit by:

  • Highlighting in recruitment materials

  • Explaining during new hire orientation

  • Including details in the employee handbook

  • Featuring on internal websites or benefits portal

  • Reminding during open enrollment

  • Providing updates as part of ongoing benefits education

Clear communication ensures employees understand and appreciate this advantage.

What Are Some Alternatives to Consider?

While 100% employer premiums seem attractive, alternatives like these may make more financial sense:

Cost-Sharing: Having employees pay some premium portion helps control expenses.

HSAs: Giving access to tax-advantaged savings to help cover out-of-pocket costs.

HRAs: Employer funds to reimburse employee medical spending tax-free.

Gap Coverage: Insurance or assistance for big-ticket medical events not fully covered.

Creative benefit designs can provide health security without premium overspending.

The Bottom Line

At face value, companies paying 100% of employee health insurance premiums appears ideal. But the costs and tradeoffs mean it’s not necessarily the perfect solution. A mix of thoughtful benefits and financial support strategies may better meet needs at lower overall expense.

How does a health insurance Deductible work?


What does it mean when employer pays premium?

If you receive healthcare coverage through your job, your employer will typically pay some or all of the monthly premium. Often, your company will require that you pay some portion of the monthly premium, which will be deducted from your paycheck. They will then cover the rest of the premium.

What does fully paid premium mean?

With a fully paid-up policy, the policyholder is no longer required to pay any further premiums, and the death benefit is guaranteed to be paid out to the beneficiaries when the policyholder passes away, provided that the policy is in force at the time of death.

What do premiums pay for?

An insurance premium is the amount of money an individual or business must pay for an insurance policy. Insurance premiums are paid for policies that cover healthcare, auto, home, and life insurance.

How much of the premium is paid by the employer?

Employers typically pay a percentage of their employees’ health insurance premiums, with the average contribution being 83% for self-only plans and 73% for family plans. Small employers may cover more of their employees’ premiums than larger businesses.

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