Health Benefits the Most Valued
Byline: Gregory Lopes, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Most workers employed at large businesses consider their health plan to be the most important part of the their benefit packages and have little interest in purchasing coverage on their own, according to a survey released yesterday by the National Business Group on Health.
The nonprofit organization representing the perspective of large employers on health care issues, conducted the survey of workers in February. The survey only contacted workers at companies with at least 2,500 employees.
Workers surveyed said they would rather face a salary cut or a reduction in retirement benefits than lose any aspect of their health benefits.
"This is the highest level workers have ever valued their health benefit since we began asking these questions," said Helen Darling, president of the National Business Group on Health.
"They should. Health care is two to three times more expensive these days," she said.
Health care costs are rising at 7.5 percent, double the inflation rate, which is forcing employers to find ways to trim employee medical costs. One way is by shifting health care responsibilities to the worker, such as through health savings accounts, a key part of the consumer-driven health care movement.
Now is when employers are making decisions about the design of their 2008 health benefit packages, and employers can save money by offering health plans that contain health savings accounts these plans have high deductibles and allow people to store money for medical costs in a tax-exempt account.
But the survey says two out of three workers are happy with their health plans, and even those who rate their plan as fair or poor are not interested in purchasing a plan on their own. …