July 27, 2012
(PLANSPONSOR.com) - Despite higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs for health
care benefits, U.S. workers’ satisfaction levels with employer-provided health
care coverage has either risen or remained the same compared to three years
ago, according to a survey.
Nearly two in three workers
(63%) are very satisfied with the health coverage currently provided by their
employer or union, and roughly one-third (35%) are more satisfied with their
coverage now than they were three years ago. Only 12% are less satisfied, and the
remaining 53% reported their satisfaction level has remained the same.
The National Business Group
on Health also found that roughly one in three (37%) employees are not
their ability to shop for health insurance on their own, and more than
half (53%) doubt they could purchase the same or better quality insurance than
their employers offer on their
workers are satisfied with their health benefits, a majority (62%) are unable
to estimate how much their employers pay for their health benefits.
Eighty-seven percent of
employees rated health benefits as very important when making a decision about
accepting a new job or remaining with their employer. Seventy-eight percent rated retirement
benefits as very important, a sharp increase from the 63% who agreed in 2007.
The survey also asked
employees their attitudes toward trading retirement and health care benefits
now versus five years ago. Today, slightly fewer employees -- 27% down from 34% in 2007 -- are open to
decreasing retirement benefits in order to have increased health benefits. One in three employees (36%) is willing to accept a reduction in
health benefits in order to have increased retirement benefits, compared to 34%
in 2007. Employees are more than twice as likely
to accept reduced health benefits for an increased salary (44%), than to take reduced salaries for improved health benefits
(21%). And if their employer had to reduce total compensation, most employees
(46%) prefer to see their retirement benefits reduced, followed by health benefits
(32%) then salaries (22%).
“Although employees would
like to see their retirement benefits improved, and may feel their retirement
savings have suffered over the past five years, they aren’t willing to have
that improvement come at the expense of their health benefits or even salary,” said
Helen Darling, president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health. “The
weakened economy and higher unexpendable expenses such as gas and commuting
have likely put pressure on just how far their take home pay can go.”