Health Care Is No. 1 Benefits Concern, Survey Finds

By Staff Report

Dec. 30, 2004

The percentage of employers ranking health care costs as the most important issue to senior management jumped from 54 percent in 2003 to 87 percent in 2004, according to a new MetLife study.

Other benefits issues of concern for senior management include retirement savings programs (44 percent), workers’ compensation (31 percent), retiree benefits (25 percent) and long-term care (18 percent).

Some of the survey’s other findings:

  • Among companies that do not currently offer online benefits enrollment, 36 percent of employers expect to add online enrollment during the next 18 months.
  • Employers’ most important benefits objective is controlling costs, with 55 percent citing that as the most important goal. The next most important objectives are improving retention (53 percent), boosting productivity (37 percent), increasing employee job satisfaction (36 percent), attracting employees (25 percent) and helping employees make better benefits decisions (15 percent).
  • Only 11 percent of employers (and 20 percent of those with 1,000 or more employees) offer a wellness program, such as efforts to help employees quit smoking. Most employers have no plans to introduce a wellness program during the next 18 months.

The MetLife study was conducted during the third quarter of 2004. A total of 1,528 human resources/benefits executives from companies with at least two employees participated in the employer survey, which was fielded in September by TNS NFO.

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