Health care benefits are considered an important part of employee compensation, but 65% of the benefits professionals surveyed by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) say that they are not integrated into the total rewards strategy. A new i4cp study explains that further incorporating health care into the total rewards strategy is one of several ways organizations can use this important benefit to attract and retain top talent and to get the most out of health care spend.
A new i4cp report, titled The State of Employee Health Care Benefits, reveals several key findings and offers several recommendations to organizations looking to gain the greatest advantage from consistently rising health care costs. The report is based on a study conducted with 138 health care benefits specialists. Findings include:
- Preferred provider organizations (PPOs) are the most commonly offered plan type in 2011, followed by consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs).
Less than half of respondents stated that CDHPs are prevalent in their organizations, surprising given the pressure to manage health care costs more effectively.
- Health care benefit plan offerings are not likely to change dramatically in 2012.
Despite major changes in health care law, respondents reported virtually no anticipated changes from 2011 plan year offerings.
- Employee health and health finance literacy are only moderately emphasized. However, high-performance organizations are much more likely to emphasize health and finance literacy (75%) than lower-performing organizations (45%).
- Individual employees are not held accountable for lifestyle choices that increase health care costs.
Only 32% of respondents agree that individual employees are held accountable for lifestyle choices that increase health care costs.
- Incentives connected to healthy lifestyle choices are not common.
There is little use of incentives to drive employee behavior toward the most appropriate health plan or healthy lifestyle choices.
- Communication channels matter.
The study shows that high-performance organizations utilize specific communication channels to educate employees on their health care plans.
"Many companies are still taking a wait-and-see approach with health care, but our findings show that making some bold moves now - in how health care is presented and communicated to employees - will lead to a competitive edge in the labor market," said Amit Mohindra, i4cp's director of research and author of the report. "We're seeing high-performance organizations beginning to inject some vitality into their health care benefits approach. This report helps bring their practices to light so other companies in our membership can understand what they're doing differently."
The full implications of recent health care legislation are just beginning to emerge, but there already exists several opportunities for organizations to make their health care investment more productive - and truly competitive. The State of Employee Health Care Benefits report explores these opportunities. The study:
- Presents key findings from i4cp's 2011 health care benefits study and outlines their implications,
- Discusses medical plan design strategies,
- Provides nine recommendations to take greater advantage of health care benefits.
The report is now available to i4cp corporate members.