As employers across all industries aim to draw in and retain top performers in 2015, providing an attractive health care plan continues to be a crucial aspect of benefits management. At the same time, employers are also facing new challenges mandated by legislation while trying to keep a lid on the cost growth of benefits. Benchmarking health plan costs and practices with other employers in the external marketplace is the first step in evaluating the effectiveness of current strategies or potential changes.

The 2015 Health Care Benefits Benchmarking Survey, released April 2, 2015, reports on data submissions from 101 employers representing 70,113 employees. Data are reported for 225 medical plans and 119 dental plans in the U.S. The information provides employers with a baseline of current health care plan costs and practices that may be used to make informed decisions regarding benefits management.

This year’s participants reported using the following cost-saving measures:

  • 56% increased employee contribution to premium
  • 29% increased prescription co-payment or coinsurance amounts
  • 29% increased medical co-payment or coinsurance amounts
  • 30% increased deductible amounts
  • 24% increased out-of-pocket maximum amounts
  • 15% changed the drug formulary
  • 18% 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 eighth edition of the Health Care Benefits Benchmarking Survey in October 2014. 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, 2014, to February 15, 2015. The requested effective date of benefits data was January 1, 2015. The survey is available online for $489 via For more information, contact ERI Salary Surveys at or 877-210-6563.

For those interested specifically in nonprofit organizations, the 2015 Benefits in Nonprofit Organizations, 15th Edition, will be released by ERI Salary Surveys in July 2015.