2016 MEPS-IC Private-Sector National Tables

Employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) is the primary source of health insurance coverage for people younger than age 65 years.

Results From the 2016 MEPS-IC Private-Sector National Tables, a statistical brief from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey-Insurance Component (MEPS-IC), uses data for private-sector establishments to describe trends in employer coverage, premiums, and deductibles from 2008 to 2016. The MEPS-IC is an annual survey of private employers and State and local governments, and is designed to be representative of all 50 States and the District of Columbia.

The period presented in this brief, 2008 to 2016, shows trends over time during a period of change in national health care policy that could have affected national ESI trends, as well as trends by firm size. Starting in 2014, most people were required to either obtain health insurance or make an individual shared responsibility payment. The employer shared responsibility provisions began to take effect for employers with 100 or more full-time equivalent employees in 2015 and for employers with 50 or more employees in 2016.

This brief describes trends and patterns in ESI for private-sector employees, overall and by three firm size categories (firms with fewer than 50 employees, 50 to 99 employees, and 100 or more employees).

Highlights of Results From the 2016 MEPS-IC Private-Sector National Tables:

  • From 2015 to 2016, there was no statistically significant change in either the overall percentage of private-sector employees covered by a health insurance plan offered by their employers (47.2 percent in 2016) or in the number of enrollees (58.2 million in 2016).
  • There was no statistically significant change in the percentage of employees working at establishments that offer insurance ("the offer rate") between 2015 and 2016 (84.3 percent in 2016). However, the offer rate at medium-sized employers (with 50 to 99 employees) increased from 85.3 percent to 88.6 percent in this period. Offer rates at small firms (with fewer than 50 employees) and large firms (with 100 or more employees) were unchanged at 47.7 percent and 98.9 percent, respectively.
  • The eligibility rate for employees at private-sector establishments that offered insurance did not differ significantly between 2015 (76.0 percent) and 2016 (76.5 percent). However, eligibility rates in 2014 through 2016 were lower than from 2008 to 2013.
  • The overall take-up rate declined from 75.0 percent in 2015 to 73.3 percent in 2016, the lowest level in the 2008 through 2016 period.
  • The 2015 to 2016 growth rates for single premiums and employee-plus-one premiums (2.3 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively) were similar to the growth rates from 2014 to 2015 (2.2 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively). The 2015 to 2016 growth rate for family premiums (2.2 percent) was lower than the growth rate for 2014 to 2015 (4.0 percent) (p <0.10).

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Page last reviewed August 2017
Page originally created August 2017
Internet Citation: 2016 MEPS-IC Private-Sector National Tables. Content last reviewed August 2017. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/meps-private-sector-tables.html