Stethoscope and dollar The percentage of employers with 20,000 or more workers that offer only a high-deductible account-based plan fell from 22 percent to 16 percent. (Photo: Shutterstock)

As the average total health benefit cost per employee rose 3 percent this year to reach $13,046, many employers are trying additional health care cost management strategies so they don’t have to shift as much of the burden to workers—that is, if they can afford to absorb increasing costs, according to Mercer’s National Surve my of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans 2019.

Mercer surveyed more than 2,500 employers and found that the average individual deductible in a PPO offered by large and mid-size employers rose just $10 in 2019, to $992. This jibes well with their priorities for the next five years, as 42 percent of large and mid-size employers say that “addressing health care affordability for low-paid employees” is an important or very important strategy.

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Katie Kuehner-Hebert

Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer based in Running Springs, Calif. She has more than three decades of journalism experience, with particular expertise in employee benefits and other human resource topics.

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