Survey Says Health Benefit Cost and Design Varies Around the Nation…By a Lot

Healthcare is local – and so are employer-sponsored health plans. That’s made abundantly clear each year when we roll out high-level results from Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans in major cities around the country, as we did earlier this month. Certainly, per-employee cost varies widely. Among the 32 employers with 500 or more employees responding from Tennessee, for example, total health benefit cost averaged $10,720 per employee. Among the 104 employers of that size responding from New York State, cost averaged $14,459. But look at the difference for employers in New York City compared to those in upstate New York: $15,161 vs. $12,625.

Program designs have a local flavor as well. Mark Whiting, a principal in Mercer’s Kansas City office, discussed the Midwest healthcare market in an article published in the Kansas City Business Journal.

He pointed out that most of the respondents from Kansas City metro area (83%) offer a high-deductible plan with either a health savings account or a health reimbursement account in 2017. That compares to 64% of employers with 500 or more employees nationwide; most of the KC respondents were of this size. (The national average for employers of all sizes is 30%.)

"We always talk about how the Midwest is perhaps trailing the coast, but this is an area where it's not," said Mr. Whiting, "I don't think it's any rocket science. Employers are saying we need to look at any and all activities to reduce cost. This is one that's proven to be successful."
Beth Umland
by Beth Umland

Director of Research, Health, Mercer

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