United Benefit Advisors has published employer survey results that illustrate just how much benefit plans in some parts of the country differ from plans in other parts.

Researchers at UBA, Indianapolis, an alliance of 141 independent benefits firms, obtained responses from 13,663 health plans that cover a total of 3.5 million U.S. residents.

Participating Northeastern plans are much more generous than plans in other regions when it comes to deductibles for single workers and coinsurance rates for plan members who use in-network providers, researchers found.

About 75% of participating Northeastern plans have no deductible for single workers, and about 83% impose no coinsurance charges on workers who use in-network providers, the researchers report.

Only about 25% of participating plans in other regions are as generous about deductibles and copayments, the researchers note.

The UBA researchers also found big differences in approaches to providing benefits for same-sex domestic partners.

Only 1.7% of participating health plans in the South and Midwest provide same-sex partner benefits, but 23% of plans in the Northeast and 57% of plans in the West do so, the searchers report.

Other survey findings:

- At participating health plans, the average annual cost per employee with medical and drug coverage is $6,629. The average participating employer pays $4,592 per employee, and the average employee pays $2,031.

- Despite accounts of employers shifting costs to employees, 32% of all plans still require no contributions for coverage for the employee, and 8.3% require no contributions for coverage for employees’ families.

- After compensating for plan adjustments, the average premium increase was 5.7% for health savings account and health reimbursement arrangement plans and 8.6% for all plans.

- About 3.4% of employees at participating plans now are in HRA or HSA plans, up from 1.9% in 2005.

- Participating employers contributed an average of $1,033 to HRAs and $938 to HSAs for single employees, and $1,965 to HRAs and $1,533 to HSAs for employees with family coverage.