Managing Benefits Costs a Top Goal for Companies

Managing costs and maintaining employee productivity are top goals for companies, a Wells Fargo survey finds.

A survey released by Wells Fargo Insurance reveals managing costs and maintaining employee productivity are the most important goals in both the short-term (12 to 18 months) and long-term (five years) for C-suite executives and benefit managers. Wellness programs will be a top priority for companies over the next five years, followed by coverage of family members, employee attraction due to benefit offerings, and employee retention due to benefit offerings.

Most companies have already made changes to their health benefit plans in 2015, with seven in 10 companies reporting they have made or are in the process of implementing changes for covering spouses, as well as to increase the percentage that employees must contribute to premiums. Another six in 10 companies have changed or are in the process of changing options for the type of plan offered. The survey found that most employers have not yet made changes such as moving from fully-insured to self-funded or using private exchanges, however, those decisions and offering a high deductible plan are the top initiatives currently under construction.

Survey results show half of the companies that have considered or are considering a change in wellness offerings said they are doing so as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Wellness is a strong focus for C-suite executives, with 93% anticipating an increase or improvement in the importance of wellness offerings. Statistics show 55% of employers will have implemented incentives and/or penalties in 2015 for wellness compliance.

“As the benefits landscape continues to evolve, employers face challenges and opportunities as they adapt to new requirements,” says Dan Gowen, national practice leader with Wells Fargo Insurance’s employee benefits national practice. “It’s a balancing act for many companies as they look to maximize employee productivity, retention, and morale while also controlling cost – a factor we expect to become even more important as companies prepare for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) excise tax in 2018.”

Gowen adds, “Employers who take a more coordinated approach to integrating wellness programs with their existing employee benefits and productivity solutions will be well-positioned to achieve growth and cost savings.”

The “Employee Benefits Trends Survey” generated 950 responses from C-suite executives and benefit managers from companies across the U.S. with more than 50 employees. The complete report is available here