Employers Shift Costs for Employee Health Benefits

April 30, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Ninety-nine percent of employers with 50 or more employees offer personal health insurance coverage for full-time employees.

Among organizations offering personal health insurance, 17% pay all of the premiums, 83% pay some of the premiums, and less than 1% pay none of the premiums, according to the Families and Work Institute’s 2012 National Study of Employers. Among employers offering personal health insurance, 41% increased employees’ premium co-pay during the preceding 12 months.  

Ninety-seven percent of employers offer family coverage, with only 4% of these paying all of the premiums for family members, another 82% paying part of the premiums and 14% paying none of the premiums. Among employers offering family health insurance, 42% increased employees’ premium co-pay during the preceding 12 months.  

Overall, 38% of employers offer health insurance coverage for unmarried partners who live with the employee. Sixty-three percent of employers offer wellness programs for employees and their families, and 79% provide private space and milk storage facilities for nursing mothers.

Small employers with 50 to 99 employees and large employers are equally likely to offer personal health insurance coverage (99% and 100%), but when they do, small employers are more likely (21%) than large employers (4%) to pay all of the premiums. Similarly, small employers and large employers are equally likely to offer family health insurance coverage (96% and 99%, respectively) and to pay the full family health insurance premiums.  

In recent years, as health care costs have risen dramatically, employers have gradually shifted more insurance premium costs to their employees. Small employers are less likely than large employers to report having increased employees’ premium co-pays during the preceding 12 months for both personal and family health insurance.   

Small employers are less likely than large employers to provide wellness programs for employees and their families, and to provide space and milk storage facilities at work for nursing women. Among employers that offer health coverage for employees’ families, small employers are just as likely as large employers to offer health insurance coverage for unmarried partners living with employees. 

The complete study report is at http://familiesandwork.org/site/research/reports/NSE_2012.pdf 

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