Employees Appreciate Health Benefits but Worry about Reform

November 3, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The vast majority of employees (90%) who receive health benefits via their employers say these benefits are as important as getting a salary, according to the recent Mercer Workplace Survey.

The survey also indicated 83% of participants say the out-of-pocket expenses they pay are probably or definitely worth the cost, up from 73% in 2008. The feeling that health benefits are “worth it” in relation to out-of-pocket expenses is spread across all demographic sections, and is particularly high among participants 50 years of age and older, according to a Mercer news release.  

However, the survey found employees are not yet comfortable with the impact health care reform may have on them personally.  More than 43% report they see their own situation as becoming “worse off” in light of health care reform.   

This anxiety toward health care reform is felt most keenly by those closest to retirement. Participants 50 years and older view health care reform more negatively than participants overall in every related aspect of the survey, the news release said.   

Just under four in ten (37%) participants are “somewhat” or “very confident” that they know how they will cover health care expenses in retirement – a statistic that has remained consistent since 2008.    

Online interviews were completed with 1,502 401(k) participants, who also are enrolled in their employer’s health plan, between May 27 and June 15, 2010.