Employer

Annual family premiums for employer coverage average $22,463 this year, with workers contributing an average of $6,106, according to the KFF Employer Health Benefits Benchmark Survey



Half of large employers see growing demand for mental health services; 3 in 10 say their plan has too few behavioral healthcare providers to ensure timely access to care

Annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance average $22,463 this year, similar to last year ($22,221), the KFF Employer Health Benefit Benchmark Survey 2022 find. On average, workers are contributing $6,106 to the cost of the family bonus this year, with employers paying the rest.

Among workers who face an annual deductible for individual coverage, the average this year is $1,763, similar to last year ($1,669) but up 61% from 2012 ($1,097 ).

“Employers are already concerned about what they pay for health premiums, but this could be the calm before the storm as recent inflation suggests bigger increases are imminent,” said the president and CEO. KFF management Drew Altman. “Given the tight labor market and rising wages, it will be difficult for employers to pass the costs onto workers when costs rise.”

The report finds persistent disparities in the burden of health care costs on workers in small and large employers. Workers at small companies (fewer than 200 workers) pay an average of $7,556 of their salary per year for family coverage, almost $2,000 more than workers at large companies ($5,580).

For individual coverage, workers at small and large companies contribute similar amounts to their coverage, although workers at small companies face much larger deductibles on average ($2,543 versus $1,493). Looked at another way, nearly half (49%) of small business workers are subject to an average deductible of at least $2,000, while only a quarter (25%) of large business workers do.

Nearly 159 million Americans rely on employer-sponsored coverage, and the 24th annual survey of more than 2,100 small and large employers provides a detailed picture of the trends affecting it. In addition to the full report and summary of findings published today, the journal Health Affairs is publishing an article with selected findings online. The article will also appear in its December issue.

Modest change in premiums may not continue as inflation catches up in 2023 contracts

The modest change in premiums this year is unusual in that it is less than the increase in inflation (8%) or worker wages (6.7%) over the same period. Even with this year’s minimal change, average premiums for family coverage have increased by 43% since 2012, more than the evolution of inflation (25%) and a little more than wages (38%) on the same period.

The costs for employers for this year were largely set last year, before inflation became a major economic concern and after the COVID-19 pandemic led to a temporary slowdown in service use. health care.

Large companies see a growing need for mental health, but some doubt the capacity of their network

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought new attention to mental health needs, the survey finds that almost half (48%) of large employers report an increase in the proportion of workers using mental health care services, and more than a quarter (29%)%) say more workers are requesting family leave because of mental health issues.

A smaller proportion of large employers say they have seen an increase in the proportion of workers using substance abuse services (14%), while more than four in ten (43%) say they are at least somewhat concerned about the growth in substance addiction. conditions of use among their workers.

The survey finds that more than a quarter (27%) of large employers this year have added mental health providers — either in physical offices or virtually via telehealth — to their plan networks to expand access. Even with these additions, three in ten (30%) large employers say their networks do not have enough behavioral healthcare providers to ensure their workers have timely access to care.

Nearly half (47%) of large companies say telemedicine matters “a lot” for accessing mental health services.

Almost all large companies (96%) now cover some form of telemedicine services, either directly through their health plan (46%), through a specialist telemedicine provider (32%), or both (20%).

More than half expect telemedicine to be “very important” for providing behavioral health services (55%) and serving enrollees in remote areas (54%). Smaller but still significant shares say telemedicine will be “very important” to provide primary care (35%) and specialist care (24%).

“Many large employers are struggling to add enough mental health and addictions care providers to meet the growing needs of their workers,” said Gary Claxton, KFF senior vice president and director of the Health Care Marketplace Project. , lead author of the study and also the health affairs article. “Most see telemedicine as an important part of the solution.

Other findings include:

  • Price of the offer. Almost all (99%) large employers offer health benefits to at least some of their workers, although smaller companies are less likely to offer health benefits as they get smaller. For example, two-thirds (67%) of companies with 10 to 199 employers provide health benefits to at least some of their workers, while only 39% of companies with three to nine workers do.
  • Spouse Coverage Restrictions. While most employers allow a worker’s spouse to enroll in coverage even if they are offered alternative coverage, 16% do not allow spouses to enroll in such circumstances and 14% impose restrictions on the registration of spouses. Some (5%) charge spouses more for coverage if they have access to other coverage.
  • Help employees purchase out-of-group coverage. The survey finds that 11% of companies offer health benefits to at least some workers and 7% of those that do not offer funds to some employers to purchase non-group coverage, such as that offered in the Act’s markets. on affordable care. Such assistance can be provided in a tax-efficient manner through individual health coverage reimbursement arrangements.
  • Coverage for insulin and statins. Most covered workers participate in plans that cover the cost of at least some insulin products (70%) and statins for the treatment of high cholesterol (71%) before reaching their general annual deductible . This follows a policy change in 2019 that allowed plans eligible for use with a health savings account to cover such expenses as preventative services.

Methodology

The KFF conducted the annual employer survey between February and July 2022. It included 2,188 randomly selected non-federal public and private companies with three or more employees who responded to the full survey. An additional 2,917 companies responded to a single question about coverage availability. For more information on the survey methodology, see the Survey Design and Methods section.

Meeting the need for reliable information on national health issuesKFF is a non-profit organization based in San Francisco, California.

About Health Affairs:

Health Affairs is the leading peer-reviewed journal log At the meeting point of health and prevention. Published monthly by Project HOPE, the journal is available in print and online. Breaking news content is also available via healthaffairs.org, Healthcare business todayand Health Affairs Sunday Update.

Project HOPE is a global health and humanitarian organization that puts power in the hands of local health workers to save lives around the world. HOPE project publishes Health Affairs since 1981.