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

As the average total health benefit cost per employee rose 3percent this year to reach $13,046, many employers are tryingadditional health care cost management strategies so they don'thave to shift as much of the burden to workers—that is, if they canafford to absorb increasing costs, according to Mercer's National Surve my of Employer-Sponsored HealthPlans 2019.

Mercer surveyed more than 2,500 employers and found that theaverage individual deductible in a PPO offered by large andmid-size employers rose just $10 in 2019, to $992. This jibes wellwith their priorities for the next five years, as 42 percent oflarge and mid-size employers say that "addressing health careaffordability for low-paid employees" is an important or veryimportant 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.