Health Care Cost-Shifting Benchmarks

By Andrew Mariotti, SHRM Customized Research Services Nov 28, 2011

For 2000 through 2010, the percentage of employee health care premiums in the U.S. paid by employers fell steadily, according to the 2011 SHRM Health Care Benchmarking Survey.

Despite employers shifting a higher percentage of premium expenses to their employees, the employers’ per-employee dollar spending on health care premiums continued to rise in light of the escalating cost of health insurance. Employers spent 42 percent more on premiums in 2010 than they did in 2008 despite increased cost-shifting.

These statistics reflect the decisions employers must make about managing health care costs while maintaining a total rewards package that attracts and retains employees.

Cost-Shifting Benchmarks




Employer contribution to monthly health care premium for employee-only coverage




Percentage of premium employer pays for employee-only coverage




Source: SHRM Customized Benchmarking Service.

The survey, created by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Strategic Research Program and reviewed by SHRM’s Total Rewards/Compensation and Benefits Special Expertise Panel, was fielded in February 2011 to 13,000 randomly selected SHRM members who are HR managers, assistant or associate directors, directors, assistant or associate vice presidents, vice presidents, or presidents. Of these, 2,558 senior HR professionals responded on behalf of their organizations, yielding a response rate of 20 percent. The survey was accessible for eight weeks.

Andrew Mariotti is a strategic research analyst at SHRM.

SHRM Customized Benchmarking Service

The SHRM Customized Benchmarking Service uses more than 400 benchmarks and draws on a database of 10,000 organizations. Reports can be customized based on industry, employee size and other factors.

For more information about SHRM Customized Health Care Benchmarking reports, as well as customized reports on Human Capital Benchmarking, Retirement and Welfare Benchmarking, Employee Benefits Prevalence Benchmarking, and Job Satisfaction and Employee Engagement Benchmarking, visit

Related Articles:

Employers Accelerate Efforts to Control Health Costs, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, November 2011

Health Benefit Costs Vary Widely by Industry, SHRM Benchmarking Shows, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, November 2011

Costs of Employer Health Plans Vary Widely by State, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, October 2011

Per Employee Health Coverage to Cross $10,000 Threshold, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, October 2011

Average Family Health Premiums Top $15,000 in 2011, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, September 2011

Large U.S. Employers Revamping Health Benefits for 2012, SHRMOnline Benefits Discipline, August 2011

Quick Links:

SHRM Online Benefits Discipline

SHRM Online Health Care Reform Resource Page

Sign up for SHRM’s free Compensation & Benefits e-newsletter


Job Finder

Find an HR Job Near You
Post a Job


Find the Right Vendor for Your HR Needs

SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies

Search & Connect