EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

A blog for medical students, faculty and librarians about their use of evidence based medicine, clinical literature, Web 2.0, sources and search strategies

News, Healthcare Administration, Benefit Surveys: Mercer Consulting Report – Nov 2008

Mercer Consulting, owned by U.S. insurance giant Marsh & McClennan, released highlights of its’ 23rd annual United States National Health Plan Survey on Nov 19 2008, which is a major source of health benefit data for U.S. employers and health care industry.  The complete report will not be available for purchase from the company until March 2009 and will include a separate appendix of tables of responses broken out by employer size, region and industry

This survey has been published for 22 years and is described on the Mercer website in the following way: “The survey is conducted using a national probability sample of [U.S.] public and private employers with at least 10 employees. Nearly 3,000 employers completed the survey in 2008… it was conducted during late summer 2008, when most employers have a good fix on their costs for the current year. The results represent about 600,000 employers and more than 90 million full- and part-time employees. The error range is +/–3 percent.”

Highlights of the 2008 data can be viewed now at this link (at no cost).  Following are a few extracts of the highlights which may be of interest:

  • Employers held health benefit cost increases to about 6 percent in 2008 for a fourth straight year – but that has meant shifting more cost to employees… The Mercer survey found that total health plan cost per employee rose by 6.3% in 2008…  Employers expect a similar increase for 2009 – 6.4 percent “.
  • Consumer-directed health plans are offered by 20 percent of large employers, up sharply from 14 percent last year.”
  • Mercer survey finds $1,000 health plan deductible was the norm in 2008 “.
  • More large employers add incentives to encourage health-conscious behavior. ”
  • ” Employers shed retiree medical plans in 2008, but with health reform looming there was no further erosion of active employee plans “.
Text Excerpts: Courtesy of Mercer Consulting – All rights reserved – Copyright 2009


The economic outlook worldwide has worsened significantly since data from this survey were collected. Mounting business retrenchment and daily reports of massive layoffs continue to increase (link to BBC.uk.com feature – Jan 28 2009) causing millions of individuals to face the loss of employee-sponsored health insurance coverage.

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