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For its 1997 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Employer Health Insurance Survey, RAND (working with HSC) incorporated features allowing analysis of the 60 Community Tracking Study (CTS) communities. From September 1996 to October 1997, more than 22,000 private and public employer establishments (including those that do not offer insurance) were interviewed by telephone. Nearly 14,000 of the interviews were conducted in the 60 CTS communities. The remaining 8,000 interviews were conducted in 12 states that were part of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation State Initiatives Study. These states were selected because they had substantial rating reforms in the small-group market. The survey consequently supports analyses at the community, state and national levels. The survey was conducted for RAND by the Research Triangle Institute. It was conducted only in 1997. There are no plans to repeat it in the future.

Survey questions covered a range of issues relating to employer-offered insurance, including the number, types and cost of premiums of health plans offered by employers; the number of employees enrolled in the plans and their share of premiums; and techniques used by employers to control costs, such as participating in purchasing pools and modifying financial incentives to encourage employees to shop for low-cost plans.

Examples of Survey Questions
  • How many different plans do you offer at this location?
  • Do you pay part of the premium for employees and, if so, how much?
  • Are plan enrollees required to select a gatekeeper to make referrals to most specialists?
  • If enrollees use a provider who is out of the plan network, must they pay the full cost of these visits?
  • Do you use the results of patient satisfaction surveys or scores on report cards of selected outcomes, such as HEDIS measures, to select health plans?

Examples of Analyses That Can Be Done with the Data

  • Differences in the percentage of employers offering health insurance to their employees by community
  • Average monthly premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance in the U.S.
  • Differences in the percentage of businesses purchasing insurance through a pooled arrangement by state.

Data Files for Public Use. Public use and restricted use data files are available for researchers to do their own analysis of this survey. For more information, read about Using the HSC Data Files.

Finding Additional Information. Because RAND produced the documentation for this survey, there are no HSC technical publications with detailed information about it. However, you can refer to the documentation that accompanies the public use file; see the information about Using the HSC Data Files to learn how to access that documentation.


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The Center for Studying Health System Change Ceased operation on Dec. 31, 2013.