Measuring Health Benefit Effectiveness Would Help with Decisions

Only 6% of CFOs reported that their company assesses the return on investment (ROI) of its health benefits, and just 23% make any performance assessment at all.

Most chief financial officers are deeply involved in their company’s health benefits decision-making, but are doing so without data to determine whether those benefits are achieving their goals, according to a survey of CFOs conducted by the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI).

While a solid majority (85%) of CFO respondents reported that they play a role in making decisions about their company’s health benefits, only 6% reported that their company assesses the return on investment (ROI) of its health benefits, and just 23% make any performance assessment at all. The survey found CFOs are not just focused on controlling costs of their health benefits, but also on attracting and retaining talent and helping employees be healthier.

In addition, nearly half (43%) of respondents said the finance function of their company participates in health benefits decisions as an equal partner with other functions (such as HR); 15% reported that the finance function makes all or most health benefits decisions. More than half (53%) of CFOs agreed that linking performance to business metrics would help them make better benefits decisions.

Despite a lack of performance data, nearly all CFO respondents reported that their company offers health benefits, such as wellness programs, disability leave and coverage of specialty pharmaceuticals; few reported plans to cut back or eliminate these benefits.

“These results are not surprising. It’s not that companies don’t see the advantage in assessing their programs, it’s that the typical metrics—ROI, for example—don’t necessarily capture what companies are trying to accomplish with their benefits in the first place,” says IBI President Dr. Thomas Parry. “A company’s commitment to health benefits reflects its business strategy and its corporate value system. The value of benefits needs to be assessed in those terms, as well as in dollars.”

The report—Finding the Value in Health—is available here.

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