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Premiums and Worker Contributions Among Workers Covered by Employer-Sponsored Coverage, 1999-2016

Since 1999, the Employer Health Benefits Survey has documented trends in the employer-sponsored health insurance market. Every year, about two thousand private and non-federal public employers with three or more employees have completed the full survey.  Among other topics, the survey asks firms for the premium or full per-person cost of their health coverage as well as the share that workers are responsible for. The graphing tool below allows users to look at changes in premiums and worker contributions for covered workers at different types of firms over time.

Findings from the 2016 survey and supplemental information are available here. For more information on the survey methodology, see the Survey Design and Methods section. For additional questions on the Employer Health Benefits Survey or this tool, please go to the Contact Us page and choose “TOPIC: Health Costs.”

Standard Errors (SE):  Like all surveys, there is a degree of uncertainty in every estimate in the Employer Health Benefits Survey. As an analysis examines more specific groups, uncertainty tends to increase. Standard Errors (SE) are a measure of how much uncertainty there is in an estimate and should be used in statistical tests to determine whether the difference between any two numbers is significant. Often even large differences in premiums or worker contributions between two groups are not actually meaningfully different. Standard errors are available for each data point in the “Export Table Data” download link above.

Not Sufficient Data (NSD):  In cases in which there are too few firms in a sub-population to provide a reasonable estimate and/or protect respondent confidentiality, the abbreviation NSD is used.

Weights:  In order to ensure that estimates are nationally representative, firms are selected randomly and weights are applied. Premium and worker contribution estimates are weighted to the number of workers covered by health benefits and adjusted to the number of employees in industry and firm size categories. For more information, see the  Survey Design and Methods section.

Variable Definitions:  Family coverage refers to a family of four. Employers offering self-funded or partially self-funded plans bear at least some of the financial risk of covering their employees directly. Employers sponsoring self-funded plans typically contract with a third-party administrator or insurer to provide administrative services for plans. In some cases, the employer may buy stop-loss coverage from an insurer to protect the employer against very large claims. For more information on self-funding, see Section 10. Firms with multiple plan types are defined as self-funded or fully insured based on the characteristics of their largest plan type; however, premiums are calculated as a weighted average of up to four plan types. Therefore, the premiums of both self-funded and fully insured plans may be included in the average premium and worker contribution for some firms. Between 2009 and 2012, respondents were asked if their largest conventional plan was self-funded, but no premium information was collected.

Industry classifications are based on a firm’s primary Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code as determined by Dun and Bradstreet. A firm’s region is determined by the location of its headquarters, according to the U.S. Census Bureau definitions.

Firms with Many Lower-Wage or Higher-Wage Workers:  Since 2013, thresholds are based on the 25th and 75th percentile of workers’ earnings as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) using data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) (2011).  The cutoffs were inflation-adjusted and rounded to the nearest thousand. From 2007 to 2012, wage cuts offs were calculated using the now-eliminated National Compensation Survey.  BLS OES data are available at: http://www.bls.gov/oes/oes_emp.htm#scope (Accessed: July 2015). Higher-wage firms are those where at least 35% of workers earn more than the cutoff. Lower-wage firms are those where at least 35% of workers earn less than the cutoff. The survey instrument only included questions on higher-wage workers in some years to reduce the survey burden on respondents.

 Firms with many lower-wage Workers are those where 35% of workers earn … or less

 Firms with Many higher-wage workers are those where 35% of workers earn … or more

1999

$20,000

$75,000

2000

$20,000

$75,000

2001

$20,000

Not Available

2002

$20,000

Not Available

2003

$20,000

Not Available

2004

$20,000

Not Available

2005

$20,000

Not Available

2006

$20,000

Not Available

2007

$21,000

$50,000

2008

$22,000

$52,000

2009

$23,000

Not Available

2010

$23,000

Not Available

2011

$23,000

Not Available

2012

$24,000

$55,000

2013

$23,000

$56,000

2014

$23,000

$57,000

2015

$23,000

$58,000

2016

$23,000

$59,000

 

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 2400 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.