Employee contributions to medical care benefits costs

April 16, 2013

In March 2012, across all private sector employers, 82 percent of workers who received medical care benefits were required to share in the cost of single coverage and 91 percent of workers were required to share in the cost of family coverage.

Requirement to contribute toward the cost of medical care benefits, percent distribution, private industry, smallest and largest establishments, March 2012
Contribution requirementSingle coverageFamily coverage
    All    1–49
500 workers
or more
    All    1–49
500 workers
or more



No employee contribution


Employee contribution required


The smallest establishments (those employing 1–49 workers) were more likely to provide single coverage at no cost to the employee; 25 percent of workers at the smallest establishments received such coverage for free.  Free coverage was less likely among the largest establishments (establishments with 500 or more workers); 13 percent of workers at these establishments received single coverage at no cost. 

For family coverage, there was little difference in the proportion with no employee cost (12 percent, compared with 10 percent).

These data are from the National Compensation Survey program. To learn more, see “Employment-based health benefits in small and large private establishments” (HTML) (PDF), by William J. Wiatrowski, Beyond the Numbers, April 2013. Medical care benefits are defined as coverage including hospitalization, surgery, physician visits, and related services. An establishment is defined as a single physical location. In some cases, an establishment may be part of a larger enterprise.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Employee contributions to medical care benefits costs on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20130416.htm (visited September 28, 2016).


Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.