In this age of consumer-directed health plans, it's heartening to see a study that says that employers believe their workers can learn what they need to know to become better buyers of services. It is less reassuring to find in the same study that only about 25 percent of the 1,675 employers surveyed currently provide various wellness and/or health risk assessment programs.

The survey was conducted by United Benefit Advisors, which describes itself as an alliance of 138 independent benefit advisory companies.

"We have reached a tipping point regarding employer involvement in helping to manage the health of its workforce," says David LoCascio, a cofounder of United Benefit Advisors.