Health Benefits Rank First

February 25, 2002 ( - Employees see health care as their most important benefit -more than their salary level - a new survey finds.

According to a new study by Hewitt Associates, more than 55% of respondents in a health plan ranked the benefit at the top of their list, while 82% either said it was the first or second in importance.

It’s also a good retention tool. An employer’s health coverage is the most important factor in staying in a job or choosing a new one, according to two thirds. Another 34% said it was a basic need, but wasn’t as critical as pay levels.

Making Health Decisions

Survey respondents were sure they’re capable of making their own health decisions with 87% claiming they understood health issues “fairly or very well.”

Almost three-quarters said they could figure their way around the health care system while a third admitted they were in the dark about it.

Those answering the survey were split about whether they would be comfortable with a more active role for their own health care with 49% saying they would be and 42% said they wouldn’t.

Some 528 employees participated in the survey.