HR Managers Leveraging Internet to Ease Health Plan Administration

May 26, 2000 ( - Trying to ease their administrative burden, a majority of human resource managers plan to expand their use of the Internet to administer benefits, while nearly a third will offer employees fewer health plans, according to a new nationwide survey of 503 employers.

The nationwide survey found 63% plan a greater use of Internet technology to administer health benefits and distribute health care information. Just 18% plan to outsource benefits administration.

The findings are part of the Fifth Annual survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care, conducted jointly by Watson Wyatt Worldwide, the Washington Business Group on Health (WBGH) and the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

“Employers are searching for ways to make employees a more integral part of the health care process,” said Rich Ostuw, global director of health care consulting at Watson Wyatt. “The Internet will be a key link in this effort by providing employees self-service technologies and easier access to information to help them become better consumers of health care.”

As more employers are sharing the responsibility of health care administration with employees, they report making extra efforts to help employees get the most out of their health care program:

  • 74 percent say they help employees navigate the health care delivery system
  • 72 percent provide a benefits comparison of health care plans offered
  • 51 percent provide decision support.

The survey also found that 32% plan to offer fewer health plans to their workers. While there is interest in expanding employee choice, there is even greater interest currently in reducing the administrative burden.