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Employer-Reported Sectors Show Diverse Range of High-Performing Companies and Industries


March 14, 2024

Identifying top employers in specific target markets, along with the insurers, brokers, and/or third-party administrators (TPAs) that support them can help fine-tune sales, marketing, and underwriting efforts for those and other stakeholders. Utilizing the most recently filed Form 5500 data contained in Mark Farrah Associates’ (MFA’s) 5500 Employer Health Plus TM, company analysts examined the leading employers in the top business sectors and industrial classifications within them, based on health coverage participants, as well as the key insurers that serve them. For this discussion, “Participants” indicates the count of active and former employees eligible for coverage under a benefit plan, but not necessarily enrolled, and may not include covered dependents. The below graph illustrates the breakdown of the leading employer-reported business sectors.



Per the most recent Form 5500 filings, more than 89.7 million participants were reported by over 86,200 employers as being enrolled in welfare plans where Health was a benefit. Manufacturing was the largest reported sector in the filings, representing 16.1% of all participants, or just over 14.4 million people. Retail Trade was a close second, with more than 12.7 million participants (14.2%). Health Care and Social Assistance is the only other sector covering more than 10 million workers with about 11.5% (10.3 million). A more detailed look at the top industries within these sectors can be found in the following graphs.



  • Manufacturing, as seen in the Form 5500 filings, is a very diverse sector. Boeing makes up the majority of not only the Transportation Equipment industry but the entire Manufacturing sector, with more than 400,000 reported participants in several benefit plans around the world. Health Care Service Corp. is a leading health administrator for Boeing. The next largest employer is General Electric with over 325,000 reported participants in plans within the Electrical Equipment, Appliance, & Components industry; UnitedHealthcare, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, and CVS Health Group are some of the larger health plans providing services for General Electric’s workers.
  • Walmart dominates the General Merchandise industry with more than 2.2 million participants, more than any other employer – even more than the next closest Retail industry, Food & Beverage Stores, which covers just over 2 million workers and includes employers such as Starbucks, Whole Foods, and Wegman’s. Amazon represents over 85.6% of Nonstore Retailers, or about 1.3 million participants. Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the leading health administrator for Walmart.
  • Health Care and Social Assistance is largely composed of Hospitals with nearly 5.6 million participants from over 1,200 different hospital business entities reporting, covering 54% of the entire sector. Trinity Health Corporation (158,000 participants), UPMC (97,000), and Mass General Brigham (83,000) are some of the top entities in this industry. The Mayo Clinic, with over 87,000 participants, is the largest employer in the Offices of Physicians and Dentists industry, followed closely by the Permanente Medical Group with nearly 75,000 participants.

About this Data

Due to filing guidelines and companies with different fiscal year ends, this subset of Form 5500 data generally encompasses filings from 2022, with a smaller amount from 2021 and 2023, to reflect the most recent filings available.

Note: MFA makes every effort to accurately aggregate filings properly but cannot guarantee 100% accuracy due to the lack of normalization within the filings. This also allows for potential duplicative data as employers may have multiple filings.

About 5500 Employer Health Plus

The data used in this analysis brief was obtained from Mark Farrah Associates' 5500 Employer Health Plus. This tool has been designed to simplify the analysis of employer health and welfare benefits including medical, dental, vision, disability, and other benefits. MFA’s 5500 Employer Health Plus uniquely focuses on health and ancillary benefits purchased by private sector employers and the relationships employers have with contracted insurers, administrators, and brokers. The user interface allows for both detailed and summary level data retrieval. Data sources include Form 5500 filings and related schedules for companies that indicate they provide health and welfare benefits.

About Mark Farrah Associates (MFA)

Mark Farrah Associates (MFA) is a leading data aggregator and publisher providing health plan market data and analysis tools for the healthcare industry. Our product portfolio includes Health Coverage Portal™, County Health Coverage™, 5500 Employer Health Plus, Medicare Business Online™, Medicare Benefits Analyzer™, and Health Plans USA™. For more information about these products, refer to the informational videos and brochures available under the Our Products section of the website or call 724-338-4100.

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