Watson Wyatt Calls for "reDefined" DC Health Care Plans

April 16, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The "best chance" for dealing with spiraling corporate health care costs may lie in a concept one consulting company calls "reDefined Contribution Health Care."

According to Watson Wyatt, the proposed health care plan design keeps the advantages of employer-sponsored group insurance, but allows employers to customize coverage options (See http://www.watsonwyatt.com/us/news/featured/redefinedhealthcare.asp ).

“Companies combine plan structure and behavioral incentives to change the way people use health benefits, but limit their liability by increasing the incentives in the current system to drive down health care costs and generate more efficient utilization of health care services,” said Maureen Cotter, global director of Watson Wyatt’s group and health care consulting practice, in a news release. “It is the way to more responsible use of health resources and to a healthier population.”

Employer Advantages

According to Watson Wyatt, the advantages could include:

  • substantial cost savings
  • predictable costs and accurate budgets
  • greater employee satisfaction
  • higher workforce productivity and reliability
  • permanent changes in costs and markets.

“Employees will not lead this revolution, but they will embrace it if they are given the right incentives and information to be successful in exercising their choice. It’s up to employers to provide them with the right plan design and resources to do so,” Cotter said.

“Major reform is necessary; there is no doubt about that. The question is, what form will it take and will it support the needs of consumers and businesses and strengthen the US economy? Everyone is looking for the proverbial `silver bullet,’ but the fact remains none exists,” said Cotter. “We believe a defined contribution approach that empowers consumers to effectively manage their health care at the point of care is the only viable solution.”