Two sets of analysts have come out with conflicting assessments of the U.S. employer-sponsored health benefits market.
Frederic Blavin and other health policy specialists at the Urban Institute say results from the institute’s own survey program show that use of employer-sponsored health coverage held steady between June 2013 and September 2014.
Analysts at Mark Farrah Associates say they believe — based on official carrier enrollment filings, extrapolations from carrier filings, and other data sources — that enrollment in employer-sponsored health plans has fallen in the past year, and that a modest increase in enrollment in self-insured plans has obscured a substantial drop in enrollment in fully insured group health plans.
Analysts are watching enrollment figures carefully to see how the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) health insurance rules, public exchange program and Medicaid expansion program are affecting traditional individual and group commercial health coverage.
The Mark Farrah analysts use quarterly enrollment figures for carriers that file enrollment data on a quarterly basis, but they use extrapolations from enrollment figures filed at the end of 2013 for the other carriers. They also use a variety of other data sources.