Employers Are Changing Their Benefit Offerings

By Staff Report

Jun. 23, 2008

The percentage of employers offering defined-benefit pension plans and traditional indemnity health benefits is continuing to erode, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual employee benefits survey.

Today, just 33 percent of employers offer defined-benefit retirement plans, down from 40 percent in 2007, the survey found. Indemnity-based health care coverage is offered by just 12 percent of employers, compared with 18 percent in 2007.

Employers are also cutting back on certain specialty health benefits, such as cancer insurance, which was offered by 28 percent of employers in 2008, down from 35 percent in 2007; and wholesale generic drug programs for injectable drugs, which was offered by 24 percent of employers in 2008, compared with 30 percent in 2007.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of employers are instituting spousal surcharges, which are fees charged to employees whose spouses have the opportunity to enroll in their own employers’ health plans, but choose not to. In 2008, 37 percent of employers assessed spousal surcharges, up from 33 percent in 2007.

“Rising health care costs, combined with the state of the economy, are causing more employers to adjust health care and financial benefits,” according to Sue Meisinger, outgoing SHRM president and CEO.

The survey was conducted among 996 randomly selected members of SHRM.

Click here for full coverage of SHRM 2008

Filed by Joanne Wojcik of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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