Small Firm Employees Getting More Big Co. Benefits Services

May 16, 2006 ( - More than ever before, employees at smaller companies have access to benefits tools and services that previously had been seen only in larger firms, a new survey found.

A news release from United Benefit Advisors (UBA), a nationwide employee benefits advisory organization, said the only factors notably more prevalent for employers with 1,000+ employees versus all other size employers were, according to the study:

  • use of employee self-service technology (45% vs. 23%),
  • employees of 1,000+ groups are less aware of the reasons for increasing costs or benefits reductions or of emerging trends than the employees of smaller companies, and
  • employees of 1,000+ groups were more upset about such changes and have greater decreases in morale than employees of smaller companies.

According to the survey, employee education initiatives also extend to retirement plans, with nearly 50% of all employers now providing employees with in-person consultations with financial professionals regarding their retirement savings and investment options.

“The most significant finding from this year’s survey is that there are far fewer differences in either current or desired services among employers in different industry groups or with differing numbers of employees than was commonly assumed,” said David LoCascio, UBA’s Co-Founder, in the news release.

The UBA study found that prevalence of some benefits, certain Web-based services and a few employee programs (including wellness and disease management initiatives) continue to increase progressively as the number of employees increase.

The adoption of personal health management strategies by employers of all sizes continues to increase:

  • Roughly 25% of all employers currently provide various wellness and/or health risk assessment programs, and an additional 50% of employers would like to add such programs.
  • Approximately 30% of all employers currently utilize disease management programs, and an additional 33% hope to someday.

Other survey findings include:

  • Nearly three-quarters of all employers think employees can become better health care consumers if given the proper tools (provider cost and quality information, employer-based education on how to manage costs, employee decision support tools, etc.).
  • Meanwhile half of all employers feel that plan design changes (high deductible plans, etc.) will make better consumers.

The survey polled 1,675 employers comprising a cross-section of companies across all industry groups, various employee size categories, and regions of the country. Copies of the survey are available for purchase via UBA’s website at .