The Future of Employment-Based Health Benefits: Will Employers Reach a Tipping Point?

12 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2008

See all articles by John A. MacDonald

John A. MacDonald

Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)


This paper summarizes discussion at the Employee Benefit Research Institute's December 2007 policy forum, which sought to assess reports that the U.S. employment-based health benefits system has reached a "tipping point" because of ever-rising costs, with employers entering a period of fundamental change in providing health benefits to workers. Large employers say they are not ready to bail out of their role of acting as the backbone of health insurance coverage in the United States, although they are pushing for major changes that they hope will alleviate the rising costs of those benefits. Some of the changes large employers are talking about could be as much as a decade into the future. And large employers have not settled on one model for change and are not convinced that new consumer-directed health plans are the solution. The policy forum was held December 6, 2007, in Washington, DC. About 120 attended the forum and heard presentations by 12 experts on health care, behavioral finance, and consumer financial education.

Keywords: Employment-based benefits, Health care reform, Health insurance attitudes and opinions, Health insurance coverage, Retiree health benefits

JEL Classification: I1, I18, J3, J32

Suggested Citation

MacDonald, John A., The Future of Employment-Based Health Benefits: Will Employers Reach a Tipping Point?. EBRI Notes, Vol. 29, No. 2, February 2008. Available at SSRN:

John A. MacDonald (Contact Author)

Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) ( email )

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