Survey Workers Thriftier With Health Care Dollars

By Staff Report

Dec. 11, 2008

More U.S. workers are taking steps to lower their medical costs and are unwilling to pay higher health care premiums, according to a Watson Wyatt Worldwide survey released Wednesday, December 10.

Citing the recent economic crisis and rising health care costs, Washington-based Watson Wyatt said 19 percent of employees surveyed were willing to pay more money out of their paycheck in order to keep health costs down. Last year, 38 percent of employees were willing to pay higher premiums.

The survey of nearly 2,500 employees of large U.S. companies conducted in May and June also found that nearly half of the respondents had chosen a lower-cost drug option in the past year. In addition, more employees delayed visiting a doctor until they had serious symptoms, and an increasing number of workers talked with their doctors about seeking more affordable treatments.

However, the survey also found that some workers are taking actions that could lead to higher medical costs, including skipping doctor’s appointments altogether and doses of medicine and avoiding filling prescriptions.

As workers continue to look for ways to save money, “employers stand to gain from reinforcing messages on preventive care, wellness resources and the importance of following prescribed drug regimens,” said Cathy Tripp, national leader of consumerism at Watson Wyatt, in a statement.

The full report, the 2008 Employee Perspectives on Health Care can be found at

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

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