Renewed Employee Appreciation of Benefits Helps Employers Cut Costs

June 1, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Employees have a new appreciation of benefits during the tough economic times and organizations have been increasingly able to partner with employees to control rising health benefit costs in a number of different ways, according to the latest findings of a survey of 787 HR professionals conducted by Workscape Inc. and Workforce Management.

Nearly 75% of survey respondents said their employees had a heightened appreciation of benefits amidst rising economic pressures, and as a result, they have been able to engage employees on a wider range of health benefit plans and options, according to a press release.

Consumer-driven Health Plans (CDHPs) and High-deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) are now offered in nearly 50% of small and mid-sized organizations and almost two-thirds of large organizations, with a 10% increase in adoption by employees this year versus last year, the press release said. Also, about 80% of large companies offer health/disease management programs to employees. Companies said they have been able to engage employees in using these plans and programs by the use of incentives and other decision support tools.

According to the survey, two-thirds of companies utilize tools to help employees make informed decisions about participating in a CDHP or HDHP, and 40% use incentives to encourage employees to participate in health/disease prevention programs. Roughly 50% of all organizations indicated they are communicating the value of total benefits statements to their employees.

In other efforts to cut costs, the survey found outsourcing open enrollment of benefits is becoming more common in organizations with larger employee counts, with roughly 35% of 5000+ employee organizations leveraging at least some form of outsourced service assistance.

The full Workscape/Workforce Management study can be viewed at www.workscape.com/benefits2009 .

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