Health Care Costs Rank High on Employer Priorities

April 20, 2011 ( – While a large number of employers expect an increase in the cost of providing benefits to employees, two-thirds are making no immediate changes to their benefit programs.

A news release said research from Deloitte and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS), 2011 Top Five Total Rewards Priorities, indicates employees may need to take on greater health benefit cost sharing to address this strategic challenge facing organizations today. The Top Five Total Rewards Priorities survey series is an annual barometer of talent and benefits management challenges facing organizations.

The survey’s 242 respondents ranked the Top Five priorities for 2011 as:

  • The cost of providing health care benefits to employees;
  • The willingness of employees to pay an increasing portion of benefit plan coverage and to manage their own reward budget;
  • The ability of reward programs to attract, motivate and retain talent;
  • The ability to adjust to and comply with current and future provisions of Health Care Reform legislation; and 
  • Clear alignment of Total Rewards strategy with business strategy and brand.

Additional survey findings include:

  • A total of 85% of employers expect Health Care Reform to increase benefits costs per employee.
  • Controlling total health care costs is the primary focus of 63% of the employers surveyed; 73% indicated that Health Care Reform will drive them to re-evaluate benefits over the next 12 months.
  • Regarding health and welfare plans, 30% of those surveyed plan to consider increasing employee cost sharing for active employee plans over the next 12 months, 62% have considered increasing cost-sharing for active employee plans over the past 12 months, while another 30% of organizations indicate they will consider increasing employee cost sharing for active employee plans over the next 12 months.

 Meanwhile, from the employee perspective:

  • Three quarters, 75%, of employee respondents ranked their ability to afford retirement, including post-retirement health care, in their top three personal challenges.
  • Down 9% from 2010, 60% of employees ranked job security among their top three concerns.
  • Nearly half (48%) of respondents plan to increase their level of contribution to qualified retirement plans, while those planning to delay retirement also decreased  to 34% in 2011 from 41% in 2010.

More information is here.