Mercer National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans 2017

Mercer National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans 2017

Our Thinking / Employee and Business Healthcare Blog /

Mercer National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans 2016
Calendar28 April 2017

The Health Benefits Landscape for 2017

89% of employees surveyed say their health benefits are as important to them as their salary. Further, employers with healthy workforces often report increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, improved turnover, better safety results and lower disability costs – results that fuel a healthier bottom line.

It’s not surprising, then, that just 2% of large employers and 14% of small employers say they are even somewhat likely to drop their plans in the next 5 years. But continuing to offer coverage means the stakes are high for employers and their bottom line.

Plan Smarter with Mercer's Healthcare Data

As employers seek to balance managing their healthcare spend with supporting their employees, understanding healthcare market trends is vital. For years, healthcare costs have been moving faster than other measures like individual earnings and inflation.

As Mercer’s survey results show, there are actions employer can take to tame cost growth. Learn about 25 strategies that help employers achieve lower healthcare cost trends and optimize value, quality and a personalized employee experience.

How Employers Can Take Back Control Over Healthcare Costs

Mercer’s National Survey is the largest, most comprehensive annual survey in the country.  It uses scientific sampling and weighting methodology that recreates the actual mix of employers in the US in terms of their size and geographic location, which means that the results provide an accurate picture of what all US employers are doing and thinking.


Our survey, marking 31 years of measuring health plan trends, has found that this year.

  • Cost growth slowed in 2016, but faster growth is predicted for 2017
    The underlying trend – the average cost increase before plan changes – remains around 6%, far outpacing inflation.
  • Enrollment in high-deductible CDHPs will continue to rise
    The large employers we surveyed continued to add CDHPs, which helped slow costs.
  • Specialty prescription drug costs are skyrocketing, driving overall medical plan trend
    For many employers, specialty prescription drug cost increases are in the double digits.
  • Employers are striving to personalize the consumer experience
    Employers are adding financial wellness and advocacy programs, along with telemedicine offerings.
  • Employers are looking beyond cost-shifting to focus on paying for value and better quality
    There is an increased focus on network strategies, such as Accountable Care Organizations, Centers of Excellence and other narrow networks.

Seize the opportunity to lead your company’s healthcare transformation. Our trends analysis can guide you on your cost-saving journey.

Studies suggest that employer efforts to promote employee health and wellbeing pay off in higher levels of employee engagement - and better business results.

Trends. Insights. Benchmarking

Timely, reliable health benefit information, used by employers, policymakers, the health care industry, and the media. Watch how Mercer’s National Survey can help you help your employees.

  Let’s Talk. Mercer Healthcare Consulting.

Have questions? Want to speak to a consultant? Whatever the size of your company, we can help transform your health and benefits programs.

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