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Am J Health Promot. 2006 Jan-Feb;20(3):214-22.

Employer coverage of clinical preventive services in the United States.

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Health Promotion Research Center, University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Seattle, WA 98105, USA.



To characterize employers' coverage of clinical preventive services.


Mercer Human Resource Consulting Inc. included questions on clinical preventive services as part of its National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, 2001.


A national sample of employers of a large, medium, and small number of employees, including governments.


Respondents self-identified as most knowledgeable about the organization's health benefits.


Weighted analyses of responses to eight survey questions on health promotion.


The survey was completed by 2180 employers, and the response rate was 21%. More than 90% of employers included increased productivity and decreased health care costs among their most important reasons for coverage of clinical preventive services. Within health insurance, coverage of physical examinations, immunizations, and screenings generally exceeded 50%, but coverage of lifestyle modification services was less than 20%. Only 20% of employers covered tobacco cessation services, and only 4% of employers provided an "optimal" benefit. We compared employers' offerings with a published ranking, by impact and value, of clinical preventive services. We found the biggest discrepancy in tobacco cessation services and alcohol problem prevention, which ranked high in terms of impact and value but are offered by only 20% and 18% of employers, respectively.


Employers seek financial return from their offerings of clinical preventive services to employees, but they are least likely to offer the services most likely to provide this return.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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