By Joanne Wojcik, Crain News Service
CHICAGO (Oct. 27, 2014) — Women pay more for health benefits and receive less coverage, according to researchers at Mercer L.L.C.
Using preliminary findings from Mercer's National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, researchers compared benefits provided to workforces that are predominantly female against those that are primarily male and found that mostly female workforces pay on average 13 percent more for single coverage than their male counterparts and typically are subject to deductibles that are 31 percent higher than mostly male workforces.
Analysis of the Mercer survey, to be released next month, used 2013 data from 2,842 employers.
Because women tend to use healthcare services more than men, the disparity in benefit levels has an even greater impact on them financially, given that the average salary was found to be about $10,000 less when workforces were predominantly female vs. mostly male, Mercer researchers found.
“There is definitely an industry slant,” Beth Umland, Mercer's director of research and benefits in New York, told Business Insurance. “Not only are women being paid less, but their benefits go hand in hand.”
About half of the mostly female companies are in healthcare, and about one-quarter are in the services sector, while mostly male companies are found to be mostly in the manufacturing sector, Ms. Umland noted.