The number of small employers with group health plans may be shrinking rapidly.
Analysts at Mark Farrah Associates (MFA) have included that finding in a report based on an analysis of health plan market data it collects.
The number of people in fully insured U.S. small-group health plans fell to about 18 million in 2012, down 3.2 percent from the 2011 total, the analysts said in the report.
But the number of small-group plans fell to about 1.5 million, down 8.8 percent from the 2011 small-group plan count and down 24 percent from the 2010 plan count.
Debra Donahue, an MFA analyst, said reporting changes or other data challenges could be responsible for some of the apparent drop in the small-group plan count.