Employers Use Onsite Health Centers to Control Costs

July 31, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Most companies (62%) establish or keep onsite health care centers to gain improvements in employee productivity that come from eliminating visits to offsite medical providers.

Other factors for establishing a center include cost reduction (57%) and improved access to care (46%), according to the Towers Watson 2012 Onsite Health Center Survey.   

Overall, employers and employees at companies that have implemented onsite centers view them positively. The survey found employers believe nearly three-quarters of senior management have very high support for their centers. Likewise, they believe most employees are very satisfied with both the level (53%) and quality (58%) of the services offered by their centers.   

Despite these encouraging views, only 38% of employers believe their onsite health centers generate a positive return on investment (ROI), compared with 9% that do not. The remaining 53% either do not know or do not track the ROI. Those that do measure ROI use lost time as the most common factor to make their calculations (74%).   

While employers offer benefits at their onsite health centers beyond the normal scope of what is considered exempt from Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requirements, only 53% identify their onsite health centers as an ERISA plan.   

More than three-quarters do not expect their centers’ service offerings to change due to health care reform. However, 30% anticipate the use of their centers to increase due to reform, while 34% do not expect an increase and 36% are unsure.   

For access to the full survey report, visit http://towerswatson.com/united-states/research/7705.