Employers Working to Keep Health Costs for Employees Down

A survey also found employees have fears about potential changes to health care policy coming out of Washington.

A strong majority of employees (77%) say they are satisfied with the health insurance plans and other health benefits available to them through work, according to the annual health care survey released by Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS).

Thirty-one percent of employers have made changes in the past 12 months to their health benefit offerings. Twenty-nine percent said they changed plan options, and 27% implemented a wellness program.

More than three in four employers (76%) say their company is concerned about the affordability of health insurance, and of those, a majority (86%) are taking some action to combat cost. In particular, 30% of employers are creating an organizational culture that promotes health/wellness and the same percentage (30%) say their company is encouraging the use of generic medications.

The survey also found that of those that offer health insurance to their employees, approximately six in 10 are working to keep costs constant for employees, including employees’ share of premiums (61%), deductibles (59%) and co-pays/co-insurance (60%). Meanwhile, only 59% of employees feel that their employer is concerned about the affordability of their health insurance.

Employers most commonly offer preventive screenings and vaccinations (66%), exercise programs (65%), smoking cessation programs (61%), health risk appraisals (61%) and programs to monitor health goals/biometrics (61%.)

According to the survey, most commonly, lack of participation is due to employees feeling they do not need these programs or lack interest in them. In addition, lack of time due to workload is noted by 21% of those who are offered but do not participate in health goals/biometric monitoring, and 19% of those are offered but do not participate in exercise programs. Meanwhile, 16% of those who are offered but do not participate in completing a health risk appraisal cite lack of an incentive to do so.

Two-thirds of employers (66%) say their company is extremely/very aware of the potential changes to health care policy coming out of Washington D.C., and more than one-quarter (26%) of employers report that the most common fear among their employees is losing health care due to a pre-existing condition.

When asked how they would like their employer to react if the health insurance mandate was removed by Congress and the President, the top responses were:

  • Evaluate coverage options (22%);
  • Not make any changes (21%); and
  • Increase coverage (19%).
More than 1,500 employer decision-makers within the United States participated in this fifth annual survey. The survey report is here.