Access to Health Care Options on the Web Can Ease Costs

May 25, 2006 ( - There is a link between a company's ability to keep down its health care costs and the Internet tools it has available to help employees model health care options, according to a survey.

A majority (58%) of the 585 companies surveyed provided Internet resources that allow employees to comparehealth care insurance options side by side, but companies that are best at controlling health costs offer additional Web tools, according to the National Business Group and Watson Wyatt, a consulting firm that advises onemployee benefits and technology solutions, among other services.

These companies are 38% more likely to provide quality comparison tools and 36% more likely to provide tools to model the tax impact of health care decisions, such as signing up for a flexible spending account. While only a small number of companies offer Internet resources for provider pricing, those considered the most successful at controlling health costs are 108% more likely to do so.

“The Web can be a great help in effectively delivering health care information to employees and is especially important for companies making significant plan design changes,” said Jeri Stepman, Watson Wyatt’s national leader for health and welfare administration, in a press release. “Companies adopting a consumerism approach to health care are finding that employees need more than financial incentives to become better health care consumers – they need information as well.”