“2013 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey: Nearly 90% of Workers Satisfied With Their Own Health Plan, But 55% Give Low Ratings to Health Care System,” and “How Does Household Income Change in the Ten Years Around Age 65?”

September 2013, Vol. 34, No. 9
Paperback, 16 pp.
PDF, 1,153 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2013

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Executive Summary

2013 Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey: Nearly 90% of Workers Satisfied With Their Own Health Plan, But 55% Give Low Ratings to Health Care System



  •  Asked to rate the U.S. health care system, a majority of workers describe it as poor (21 percent) or fair (34 percent). Thirty-one percent consider it good, while only a small minority rate it as very good (12 percent) or excellent (2 percent). Dissatisfaction with the health care system appears to be focused primarily on cost.

  • The 2013 Workplace Benefits Survey (WBS) and the 1998–2012 Health Confidence Survey (HCS) find that the percentage of workers rating the health care system as poor doubled between 1998 and 2006 (rising from 14 percent to 32 percent); however, more recently that percentage has fallen slightly.

  • In contrast to the ratings for the health care system overall, workers’ ratings of their own health plans continue to be generally favorable. One-half (51 percent) of those with health insurance coverage are extremely or very satisfied.

  • While 46 percent of workers indicate they are extremely or very confident about their ability to get the treatments they need today, only 28 percent are confident about their ability to get needed treatments during the next 10 years, and just 19 percent are confident about this once they are eligible for Medicare.

How Does Household Income Change in the Ten Years Around Age 65?



  • Those in the bottom half of income distribution did not experience any drop in income after they reached 65. In fact, due to Social Security, the bottom-income quartile actually experienced an increase in average household income after 65 during the study period. For the top income quartile, the large drops in labor and capital income were not offset by the increase in Social Security or pension/annuity income.

  • The post-65 to pre-65 income ratio dropped steadily with income?higher-income groups had less post-65 income as a percentage of their pre-65 income than did the lower-income groups. The bottom-income quartile experienced post-65 to pre-65 income ratios in excess of 150 percent, compared with about 60 percent for the top-income quartile.