Trends in Employer Sponsored Health Plans

How does your organization’s health insurance plan compare to other employers in your area? Recent findings from Employers Council’s 2019 Health, Welfare & Retirement Plans Survey found that employers in Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming were experienc­ing an 8 percent increase in their health insurance plans at their last renewal after negotia­tions and plan changes.

The three most common cost-containment methods employers used to lower their health insurance costs in 2019 were to increase the employee cost for single coverage; increase the employee cost for dependent coverage; and raise deductible, coinsurance levels and/ or copay levels. These are the same three strategies used by the majority of employers as reported in the last several surveys.

Key finding from the 2019 survey:

  • Average Monthly COBRA Health Insurance Premium for Single (employee only) Coverage. The 2019 average premium for single coverage for all plan types combined (HMO, PPO, POS, HDHP) is $534 in Arizona, $614 in Colorado, $567 in Utah, and $748 in Wyoming.


Other findings from the 2019 survey:

  • Percentage of Health Coverage Paid by Employer. For single coverage (employee only) in Arizona, on average, the employer pays 83 percent of the premium. That number jumps to 85 percent in Colorado, declines to 80 percent in Utah, and stands at 85 percent in Wyoming.
  • Types of Plans Offered. Eighty-two percent of Arizona respondents offer a PPO plan, and 89 percent offer a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). Sixty-eight percent of Colorado respondents offer a PPO plan and 61 percent a HDHP. In Utah, 79 percent of respondents offer a PPO plan and 83 percent an HDHP, and 71 percent of Wyoming employers offer a PPO while 83 percent offer an HDHP. Multiple plan options were reported.
  • Employer Contributions to HSA. The majority of employers contribute to an employ­ee’s HSA account when offering an HDHP. In Arizona, employers with an HDHP contribute an average annual amount of $917 for single coverage, Colorado employ­ers contribute an average annual amount of $690, Utah respondents contribute $633, and Wyoming respondents contribute $596.
  • Health Care Cost Per Covered Employee. In Arizona, the average 2018 health care cost per covered employee was $10,940. In Colorado, that figure was $11,721, Utah came in at $11,168, and Wyoming was the highest at $14,029. However, Wyoming came in significantly lower than in 2017, when the figure was $16,426.
  • Health Coverage Self-Insured/Self-Funded. Eighty-eight percent of Wyoming respon­dents have a self-insured/self-funded plan, as do 48 percent of Colorado respondents, 64 percent of Arizona respondents, and 69 percent of Utah respondents.
  • Encourage Participation in Wellness Programs. The majority of organizations provide incentives to encourage employee participation in company-sponsored wellness programs. One hundred percent of Arizona respondents provide incentives to participate, as do 88 percent of Colorado respondents, 95 percent of Utah respon­dents, and 94 percent of Wyoming respondents.

Early projections for 2020 health insurance increases are at 7.7 percent for Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming employers. These projections are from Employers Council’s 2019 Planning Packet Survey. Also in this year’s survey, we asked if employers were giving lower pay increases in 2020 due to higher health insurance costs. Eight percent of Utah respondents plan to give lower 2020 pay increases because of rising health insurance cost, along with 6 percent of Wyoming respondents and 3 percent of Colorado respon­dents. There were no respondents in Arizona who indicated they were going to utilize this strategy in 2020.

The 2019 Health, Welfare & Retirement Plans Survey includes responses from 504 organizations in Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. These respondents represent a cross-section of industries and employment sizes. There are two editions of the 2019 Health, Welfare & Retirement Plans Survey: One report includes Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming organizations and the other report includes only Utah respondents.

The full results from both editions of the 2019 Health, Welfare & Retirement Plans Surveys are located on our website: You will need to sign in to the website to access these survey results. Utah Grandfa­thered members may purchase the survey results by completing the survey order form at or contacting