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Eighteen Things to Know from the 2018 KFF Employer Benefits Survey

By Clive Riddle, October 4, 2018


The Kaiser Family Foundation 2018 Employer Benefit Survey, an annual 200+ page definitive report of the state of employer health benefits since 1999, includes these eighteen things to know that KFF highlights:



  1.  On average, employees are contributing $5,547 toward the cost of family coverage, with employers paying the rest.
  2. Annual premiums for single coverage increased 3 percent to $6,896 this year, with employees contributing an average of $1,186.
  3. This year’s premium increases are comparable to the rise in employees’ wages (2.6%) and inflation (2.5%) during the same period. 
  4. Since 2008, average family premiums have increased 55 percent, twice as fast as employees’ earnings (26%) and three times as fast as inflation (17%).
  5. Currently 85% of covered employees have a deductible in their plan, up from 81% last year and 59% a decade ago. 
  6. The average single deductible now stands at $1,573 for those employees who have one, similar to last year’s $1,505 average but up sharply from $735 in 2008. 
  7. 26% of covered employees are now in plans with a deductible of at least $2,000, up from 22% last year and 15% five years ago. 
  8. Among covered employees at small firms (fewer than 200 employees), 42 percent face a deductible of at least $2,000.
  9. 57% of employers offer health benefits, the same as five years ago. 
  10. Some employers that offer health benefits provide financial incentives to employees who don’t enroll – either for enrolling in a spouse’s plan (13%) or otherwise opting out (16%).
  11. Overall 10% of all offering firms – and 24% of large ones – expect fewer employees and dependents to enroll because of the elimination of the ACA tax penalty.
  12. 21% of large firms report they collect some information from employees’ mobile apps or wearable devices as part of their wellness or health promotion programs (14% last year.)
  13. Most large offering employers (70%) provide employees with opportunities to complete health risk assessments.
  14. 38% of large offering firms provide incentives for employees to participate in wellness programs.
  15. 29% of firms that offer health benefits offer a high-deductible health plan with a savings option. 
  16. 61% of firms offering HDHPs only this type of plan to at least some of their employees. Overall, 29% of covered employees are enrolled in such plans.
  17. 74% of large firms (200+ employees) cover services provided through telemedicine, up from 63% last year and 27% in 2015. 
  18. 76% of large firms cover services received in retail clinics.




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