CHA News Article

2015 Employer Health Benefits Survey Released

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) has released its 2015 Employer Health Benefits Survey, providing a detailed look at trends in employer-sponsored health coverage including premiums, employee contributions, cost-sharing provisions and employer opinions. The survey was conducted from January through June 2015. Employer-sponsored insurance covers more than half of the non-elderly population — a total of 147 million people. The continuing implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has brought about a number of changes for employer-based coverage, ranging from benefits changes (such as the requirement to cover certain preventive care without cost sharing or have an out-of-pocket limit) to the requirement for larger employers to offer coverage to their full-time workers or face financial penalties. According to the report, most market fundamentals remain consistent with prior trends despite these new requirements, suggesting that while changes are still occurring, with more likely to come, the ACA has not caused significant disruption for most market participants.

Key report findings reveal:

  • A modest increase (4 percent) in the average premiums for both single and family coverage in the past year. The average annual single coverage premium is $6,251, and the average family coverage premium is $17,545.
  • The percentage of firms that offer health benefits to at least some of their employees (57 percent) and the percentage of workers covered at those firms (63 percent) are statistically unchanged from 2014. Relatively small percentages of employers with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees reported switching full-time employees to part-time status (4 percent), changing part-time workers to full-time workers (10 percent), reducing the number of full-time employees they intended to hire (5 percent) or increasing waiting periods (2 percent) in response to the employer shared responsibility provision, which took effect for some firms this year.
  • Employers continue to be interested in programs addressing the health and behavior of their employees, such as health risk assessments, biometric screenings and health promotion and wellness programs. Meaningful numbers of employers offering one of these screening programs now offer incentives to employees who complete them – 31 percent of large firms offering health benefits provide an incentive to complete a health risk assessment, and 28 percent provide an incentive to complete a biometric screening.
  • 53 percent of large employers (200 or more workers) have analyzed their health benefits to see if they would be subject to the high-cost plan tax when it takes effect in 2018, with some already making changes to their benefit plans in response to the tax.
  • Preferred Provider Organization plans remain the most common plan type, enrolling 52 percent of covered workers in 2015 — a smaller percentage than 2014. Twenty-four percent of covered workers are enrolled in a high-deductible plan with a savings options, 14 percent in an HMO, 10 percent in a POS plan, and 1 percent in a conventional (also known as an indemnity) plan.

The full report is available on the KFF website at