Flexible Benefits Offered by Majority of Employers

October 24, 2006 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A new survey has found that 92% of employers offer flexible benefit plans to their employees.

According to a press release from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP), 90% of those employers who offer flexible benefit plans offer health care and dependent care flexible spending accounts (FSAs). However, participation in these plans is not great, according to the survey results. Seventy-three percent of respondents said 39% of their employees or fewer use health care FSAs, and 68% of respondents said 9% of employees or fewer use dependant care FSAs.

Almost a third (30%) of employers surveyed who offer flexible benefit plans said they offer a consumer-driven health care plan in addition, the release said. A quarter (25%) of respondents said they provide cash or credits to employees who opt out of health care benefits.

Of those health care FSAs offered, 92% are completely funded by participants and most participants use all of the funds set aside in their FSAs. Sixty-two percent of respondents said that 7% of participants or fewer forfeited money in their health care FSAs and fewer than 5% of participants in dependant care FSAs forfeited money.

The most common maximum contribution allowed for participants in a health care FSA was $5,000, selected by 42% of employers surveyed.

The survey results were compiled from 326 responses of corporations (60%), professional services firms (22%) and public employers (18%), as well as 50 samples, including 24 enrollment and claims forms, 15 summary plan descriptions, seven plan documents and four other communication pieces. Results are reported in IFEBP’s book “Flexible Benefit Plans and FSAs,” which can be purchased from here .