Employer Health Plan Share Falls for Individuals

By Staff Report

Nov. 4, 2009

Employees with individual coverage in consumer-driven health plans are seeing their employers’ contributions decline, while those with family coverage are seeing their employers’ contributions increase, according to a survey released Tuesday, November 3, by the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

The survey by Washington-based EBRI also found that the percentage of employers making contributions to either health reimbursement arrangements or health savings accounts tied to consumer-driven health plans dropped from 67 percent last year to 63 percent this year.

Between 2006 and 2008, the percentage of workers with employee-only coverage whose employer contributed at least $1,000 to either their HRA or HSA increased from 26 percent to 37 percent; but in 2009, it fell to 32 percent.

Meanwhile, the percentage of workers with individual coverage who received an employer contribution of less than $200 increased from 3 percent last year to 8 percent this year.

By contrast, the percentage of workers with family coverage who received a contribution of $1,000 or more increased from 59 percent last year to 73 percent this year. Nearly three-quarters of workers with family coverage in a CDHP now receive an annual employer contribution of $1,000 or more, EBRI estimates.

Among other findings in the survey:

● The percentage of individuals remaining in CDHPs for three to four years increased from 9 percent in 2006 to 26 percent in 2009, and the percentage who remained in the plans for five years or more increased from 3 percent in 2006 to 9 percent in 2009.

● The amount of money individuals have accumulated in their accounts has grown over time. Forty-seven percent had balances of at least $1,000 in 2009, compared with 43 percent in 2008, 44 percent in 2007 and 25 percent in 2006.

● Only 4 percent of the adult U.S. population in 2009 is enrolled in CDHPs linked to HSAs or HRAs, up from 3 percent in 2008.

The report, which presents findings from the 2008 and 2009 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Surveys and the 2006 and 2007 EBRI/Commonwealth Fund Consumerism in Health Care Surveys, was published in the November EBRI Notes and is available online at

Filed by Joanne Wojcik of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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