Survey Health Management Reduces Care Costs

By Staff Report

Sep. 30, 2008

Although the rate of increase in health care costs continues unabated, some employers are successfully mitigating the expense through a variety of health management techniques, Towers Perrin’s annual Health Care Cost survey has found.

“The high performers will pay on average 14 percent less in 2009” than low-performing employers will, said Dave Guilmette, managing director of the Towers Perrin health and welfare practice based in Stamford, Connecticut, in a press release Wednesday, September 24, announcing this year’s survey findings.

Employees at these high-performing companies also share in this success, paying an average of $350 less annually for their health insurance than their peers at low-performing employers, the survey found.

The survey also projected a 6 percent increase in health benefit costs for employers in 2009, with single coverage averaging $4,860 and family coverage averaging $14,244.

Among other survey highlights:
• 78 percent of high-performing employers say their company plays a major role in identifying and managing employee health risks, compared with 38 percent of low performers.
• 76 percent of high performers say they’re committed to building a culture of health in their organizations, compared with 31 percent of low-performing employers.
• 74 percent of high performers say they actively help employees understand and manage their health, compared with 22 percent of low-performing employers.

“The common theme is the business value of health,” Guilmette said.

“Rather than focus on managing the cost of illness, high-performing companies are focusing more on managing the health of their workforces. Simply put, high-performing companies see that good health is good business.”

The 2009 Towers Perrin Health Care Cost survey included detailed information on the health benefit programs offered by 321 of the Fortune 1000. These companies collectively provide health care coverage to 6.6 million U.S. employees, retirees and dependents, spending a total of $32 billion annually.

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

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