Survey Says – The Road Ahead

This week we asked readers for their "read" on what this year's events might mean for the future, specifically which of several key events did they think would have the biggest impact on the employee benefits industry in the coming year.

The results were diverse, but the terrorist attacks topped the list, garnering 21.5% of the votes. The market swoon was a close second, with nearly 20% and the shift from over- to underfunded pension plans wasn’t far behind, cited by roughly 18% of the total.

Pension reform legislation and lots of layoffs each drew 14%, while concerns about the patients bill of rights attracted about 12%. Anecdotally, the closer a reader was to New York City, the more concerned they seemed to be about the terrorist attacks.

Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!  Check out the VERBATIMS below.

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The pension reform is only relevant if you have the extra money to take advantage of the changes. If you’re out of work it is a moot point.

It will take some time, probably several years to see the effect of the patient bill of rights. Some lawyers will probably get richer.

As far as provider consolidations, there is still a lot of effort needed in the health care area to stop the shift to insurance controlled care back to the health care providers where it belongs. The pendulum needs to swing back, now that more standardization of care is in place, which was needed, and some other changes that have benefited both the patient and the cost of care.

Under other, I think that the pharmaceutical industry as a whole needs close scrutiny to work to lower the cost of drugs, particularly the new drugs. The drug industry spends many dollars lobbying the physicians to use their products with lunches, dinners, cruises etc. and this all gets passed on to the consumer. The research and development budgets, and the marketing expenses, all addtremendous costs to the consumer. Let’s put the drug companies under the microscope, like what some other areas in health care have been subjected to.”


“Terrorist attacks–it drives a large portion of most of the other “bad” things going on.”


“I found it a difficult choice between a) EGTRRA (pension reform) and (f) pension plans slip from over-to under-funded. However a) EGTRRA wins. EGTRRA will be a financial, communication and administrative project of great proportion.”


“I really feel that the events of the year – primarily the market swoon and Sept 11 will act to completely end the run of ‘prosperity’ as we knew it through the 80s and even the 90s. Corporate greed has left virtually all companies in a position that makes it hard for them to react (and survive?) in such a time as this. The last 20 years saw the gap between executive management and main line employees (including middle management) grow like never before. The impact has been (IMHO) that dollars desperately needed for business and staff development was insanely spent on executive bonuses, perks, and stock options. “