Findings From the 2002 Health Confidence Survey: Five Years of HCS Data Show Little Change in Confidence or Satisfaction

Benefit Cost Comparisons Between State and Local Governments and Private-Sector Employers

October 2002, Vol. 23, No. 10
Paperback, 16 pp.
PDF, 201 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2002

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Executive Summary

Findings From the 2002 Health Confidence Survey: Five Years of HCS Data Show Little Change in Confidence or Satisfaction—The 2002 Health Confidence Survey finds that Americans' confidence in and satisfaction with the health care system in the United States remain remarkably stable. Almost half of survey respondents continue to be extremely or very satisfied with the health care they are receiving in general, and more than half continue to be extremely or very satisfied with the quality of the medical care they receive and are confident that they are able to get needed treatments today. However, confidence wanes, as in past years, as they look toward their ability to get needed treatments in the future. Moreover, Americans are more likely than in 1998 to identify health care as a critical issue for the nation. And more are dissatisfied now than in 1998 with both the cost of their health insurance and the costs of health care that is not covered by their insurance.

Benefit Cost Comparisons Between State and Local Governments and Private-Sector Employers—In March of 2002, overall total compensation costs were 44 percent higher among state and local government employers ($31.29 per hour worked) than among private-sector employers ($21.71 per hour worked). Total compensation costs consist of two major categories: wages and salaries and employee benefits. For both of these categories, state and local government employers' costs were higher than those of private-sector employers: 40 percent higher for wages and salaries and 55 percent higher for employee benefits. This article examines some of the causes of the differences in these total compensation costs.