This paper, based on data from the 1997 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Employer Health Insurance Survey, presents national estimates of the number and characteristics of employers who depend on the help of insurance agents and brokers, third-party administrators, and professional benefit consultants in designing their health insurance benefits. Fifty-four percent of employers involve external consultants in their plan decisions; the likelihood of their use is directly related to firm size. The authors find little overall association between the use of outside specialists and health plan characteristics, however.
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