New Yorkers are second only to Alaskans when it comes to the average cost of health insurance premiums they and their employers pay each year — now standing at $8,542.

Employer-based health insurance in New York has typically cost more than the rest of the country, but it's becoming increasingly more expensive than most of the rest of the country. 

The extra costs paid by New Yorkers has not translated to better care, said Bill Hammond, a senior health policy fellow at the The Empire Center think tank. New York is routinely at the back of the pack for hospital safety and is in the middle for nursing home and long-term care facility quality. 

"No, I don't think that extra money is buying us a higher quality of care at all," he said. 

Costs are growing. An analysis released this week by Hammond found New York's health insurance premiums are now nearly 16% above the national average. 

"That's the highest it's ever been in the 25 years that the federal government has been collecting this data," Hammond said. "It's a trend that says nothing good about the affordability of health insurance."

Alaska's average premium of $9,037 is considered an outlier given how different and unique its population demographics are from the lower 48 states. The average health insurance premium in the country is at $7,380.

There are a variety of reasons why New Yorkers pay so much for health insurance. One of the causes: taxes. New York generates a significant portion of its revenue from the insurance tax. 

"New York has just been more expensive and there are a number of reasons," said Leslie Moran, the senior vice president of the New York Health Plan Association. "New York is more expensive generally, the cost of living is more expensive. Medical expenses are more expensive."

New York state also requires insurers to provide more minimum coverage, jacking up the cost of premiums as well. 

"Health care costs, the cost of health care, is inextricably tied to the underlying cost of care," Moran said. "So when medical costs go up, health insurance premiums go up."

The ebb and flow of the COVID-19 pandemic has also led to health insurance complication. New Yorkers may have put off care during the height of the crisis, and are only now returning for doctors' appointments. 

"Because they put off care during the height of COVID, when they're going to get it very often they are sicker or the problem they are seeking to address has gotten worse, so the cost of fixing it is higher," Moran said.