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NEW SURVEY: Employer-Provided Health Coverage Is Delivering Real Value for Consumers During the Pandemic

Press Release

Published Mar 10, 2021 • by AHIP

New data examines how Americans think about the value of health coverage provided by their employer one year into the COVID-19 crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With more than half of Americans receiving their health care through an employer, a new study of American employees finds that 71% believe their employer-provided health care coverage is easy to use, and 76% say it would protect them from the majority of their medical costs in an emergency. Those are some of the results from a new survey conducted for America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) by Locust Street Group, designed to measure the perceptions, priorities and expectations of Americans who have employer-provided coverage.

These survey results show that employer-provided coverage continues to deliver affordable access to care, important value and peace of mind for more than 183 million Americans,” said Matt Eyles, president and CEO of AHIP. “Employers are at the forefront of responding to COVID-19, and health insurance providers have been their partner along the way to keep hardworking American families covered. We appreciate that Congress and the Administration recognized that value, with timely and targeted subsidies in the latest relief package to help people stay covered during the pandemic even if they lose their jobs.

The survey asked 1,000 Americans about their perceptions of their employer-provided coverage. Questions focused on how people feel about their own coverage, their perceptions about the health care system, the coverage other Americans have, how their coverage has supported them through COVID-19, and health insurance providers’ role in improving health equity.

Among the findings:

  • More than three-quarters – 76% – feel their health care coverage will protect them during a medical emergency.
  • Of respondents, 71% say their coverage is easy to use and they understand the benefits and services covered by their plan.
  • A strong majority – 67% – are satisfied with their current coverage and many think their plans would also be good for their fellow citizens.
  • Employer-provided coverage remains an important part of business’ compact with employees especially during this critical time – 75% say that coverage played a role in their decision to accept their current job, while 78% say it impacts their decision to stay at their current job.
  • Provider choice, comprehensive coverage, and affordability are top drivers of satisfaction with their plans, while costs continue to be the top issue of concern.
  • The value-added services provided by their insurance provider that are most meaningful to consumers include care coordination and coordination of prescription drug refills.
  • Americans continue to underestimate how much their employers pay toward their coverage: Just 39% correctly estimate that the average employer contributes 70% or more of the cost of the coverage they receive.
  • Nearly three-quarters of Americans – 73% – think it’s important for health insurance providers to work to improve health equity.
  • A majority of Americans – 62% – support the current tax-free status of employee health benefits.

Health insurance providers are always working to improve affordability, access, and value,” observed Eyles. “These results make clear just how important it is for everyone to work together to bring down the underlying costs of care, such as prescription drugs and hospital costs – providing Americans with more value, more financial stability, and greater peace of mind.

The survey demonstrates important ways COVID-19 has impact Americans’ perceptions of their health insurance provider and the coverage they have:

  • Of those who have received a COVID-19 test, 62% said their plan was helpful in obtaining and covering a test.
  • Most intend to take a COVID-19 vaccine – 61% of respondents indicated they plan to get vaccinated when they become available to them, while 74% said it’s important for their coverage to cover the cost of their vaccines.
  • A majority – 56% – say telehealth and mental health services are more valuable than they were a year ago.
  • Nearly three-quarters – 72% – said it’s important for Congress to subsidize the cost of COBRA coverage during the pandemic.

The data show that the steps health insurance providers are taking to keep people covered and provide them with important services during the COVID-19 crisis are really valuable and top of mind for American families,” said Phillip Morris, partner at Locust Street Group. “Ease of use and protection in an emergency are two things many Americans are thinking about right now, and employer-provided coverage checks those boxes for Americans’ health care coverage needs.

A live briefing on survey results provided a deeper dive into the data and what it means about Americans’ coverage perceptions. For more information and a link to a recording of the briefing post-event, visit

About AHIP

AHIP is the national association whose members provide coverage for health care and related services to hundreds of millions of Americans every day. Through these offerings, we improve and protect the health and financial security of consumers, families, businesses, communities and the nation. We are committed to market-based solutions and public-private partnerships that improve affordability, value, access, and well-being for consumers. Visit for more information.