Health Care Benefits Benchmarking Survey Shows Continuing Trend by Employers to Reduce Costs

by ERI Salary Surveys 19. April 2013 13:55
Changes to federal health care law and rising medical costs have many organizations throughout the United States implementing less expensive health care options. Rather than offering changes in traditional plans, some employers are moving to high deductible health plans coupled with a Health Savings Account. Others are simply reducing benefit levels overall through cost-saving measures.

The 2013 Health Care Benefits Benchmarking Survey, released April 2, 2013, by ERI Salary Surveys, documents these and other trends. The report details data submissions from 208 employers representing more than 145,000 employees. Data are reported for 345 medical plans and 242 dental plans in the U.S. The information provides employers with a baseline of current health plan costs and practices that may be used to make informed decisions regarding benefits management.

In just the past two years, the number of participating organizations offering high deductible health plans has grown by 55%. High deductible plans carry lower premiums and shift more medical costs to employees.

This year's respondents also reported using the following cost-saving measures:

  • 54% increased employee contribution to premium
  • 22% increased prescription co-payment or coinsurance amounts
  • 28% increased medical co-payment or coinsurance amounts
  • 34% increased deductible amounts
  • 28% increased out-of-pocket maximum amounts
  • 14% changed the drug formulary
  • 8% moved to self-insurance

In addition to detailed medical, dental, and vision benefits information by size and type of employer and geographic location, the survey also reports on the length of employment requirements for coverage and cost-management strategies (such as disease management, health promotion, and wellness programs).

Questionnaires were designed and distributed for this sixth edition of the Health Care Benefits Benchmarking Survey in October 2012. Participation was solicited from employers in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, as well as government entities in the U.S. Data input was collected in the period from October 1, 2012, to February 15, 2013. The requested effective date of benefits data was January 1, 2013. The survey is available online for $289 via For more information, contact ERI Salary Surveys at

For those interested specifically in benefits for nonprofits, the 2013 Benefits in Nonprofit Organizations, 13th Edition, will be available from ERI Salary Surveys in July 2013.

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