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Enrollment in Health Plans With Employer-Paid Premiums Drops by a Third

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: February 28, 2007

The proportion of U.S. private-sector workers enrolled in employer-sponsored health plans that do not require them to share the cost of their premium fell by one third between 1998 and 2004—from 27 percent to 18 percent, according to the latest News and Numbers summary from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

  • Only 35 percent of workers with single coverage were enrolled in such plans in 1998, regardless of the size of their company, but by 2004 the rate had fallen to 24 percent.
  • Similarly, enrollment in no-contribution family plans slipped from 19 percent to 15 percent during the same period.
  • Workers in companies with fewer than 50 workers were much more likely than those in larger businesses to be enrolled in no-contribution plans.
  • More than half (53 percent) of enrolled workers with individual coverage in small firms were enrolled in contribution-free plans, versus 14 percent of those employed by larger companies.

AHRQ, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, works to enhance the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care in the United States. The data in this AHRQ News and Numbers summary are taken from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), the nation's most complete survey of how Americans use and pay for health care, including their health insurance coverage.

For more information on this AHRQ News and Numbers summary, access Trends in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Plans that Required No Employee Contribution to the Premium Cost, 1998-2004.

For other information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, please contact Bob Isquith at or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of February 2007.


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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