Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance: A Survey of Small Employers in California

Publication Date: August 1999

Publisher: California HealthCare Foundation

Author(s): Inc. William M. Mercer

Research Area: Health

Type: Report

Coverage: California


Small firms are much less likely than large firms to offer health insurance to their workers. Given that one-fifth of all workers are employed by small companies, finding a way to encourage small employers to offer coverage could help reduce the large and growing number of uninsured, which reached 43 million nationally and 7 million in California in 1998. To create a reliable information resource on health insurance options and health insurance purchasing decisions among small employers in California, Mercer surveyed small private employers (10 to 49 employees) in California to create projectable data for this population. The study used three separate survey instruments. First, Mercer's standard national survey was used to gather information from small firms in California that offer coverage to workers. Second, a supplemental survey was developed to gather information on firms that do not offer coverage. That survey was then modified to create a third instrument to collect similar information from firms that do offer coverage. The survey instruments were applied, by phone, to 600 California firms that offer health insurance to 10 to 49 workers.