Recent Data and Research Articles on Health Benefits from the National Compensation Survey

The National Compensation Survey (NCS) provides comprehensive information on health benefit plans. Under the NCS program, information on the incidence and provisions of benefits is published in stages. A bulletin is published with a March reference date each year with data collected from respondents for civilian (as defined by NCS), State and local government, and private industry workers, on the access to, and participation in, selected benefits such as healthcare plans, as well as employer and employee shares of contributions to medical care premiums and their average amounts. A second publication, based on employer documentation of benefit plans, is published annually with more detailed information on basic provisions of health plans. Also, additional provisions of health benefit plans are published on a rotating basis. Employer costs for employee compensation are published quarterly. Included are costs of health insurance for different occupational and industry groups, worker characteristics, and geographic areas. In addition, the Employment Cost Index publishes 12-month percent changes in employer costs for health benefits in private industry.

Employee Benefits


Employment Cost Trends

  • Historical series on health benefit costs per hour worked, 2004 to present, at  Employer costs per hour worked for health plans were $1.81 in March 2004; in March 2016 the costs were $2.85.


Published Articles

  • Understanding Health Plan types: What's in a name?” Beyond the Numbers: Pay and Benefits, January 2015, (highlights the differences in various types of health care delivery systems, as reflected in health care plans offered in the workplaces).
  • Concerns about health insurance and retirement” Monthly Labor Review, April 2013 (reviews "Health Insurance Coverage in Retirement: the Erosion of Retiree Income Security," Christian E. Weller, Jeffrey Wenger, and Elise Gould).
  • Who has benefits in private industry in 2012?” Beyond the Numbers: Pay and Benefits, September 2012, (focuses on access to and participation in retirement and other benefits by various worker and establishment characteristics).


Last Modified Date: October 19, 2016