Employers plan to push wellness programs more

The glass-half-empty/-half-full dynamic appeared when the consulting company Deloitte last month released a survey of employer expectations (http://bit.ly/QrAvpg) about the health care system. The finding that 10 percent of employers plan to drop coverage within three years as state insurance exchanges come online was greeted ominously by some. Others thought, What’s the big deal? The study itself indicates that it’s not worth getting worked up about, noting that “most do not intend to drop health benefits coverage.”

Most of the 560 employers surveyed believe that costs are driven by hospital prices (80 percent), inefficiencies (68 percent), and workers’ unhealthy lifestyles. Most employers plan to increase employee cost-sharing and to stress preventive health in the next three to five years.

The larger the company, the more emphasis on wellness. Companies with 1,000–2,499 workers expect to maintain their investment in wellness, and companies with more than 2,500 plan to invest even more.

Given what you know or have heard, do you agree with this statement: “My company is anticipating dropping health insurance coverage over the next three years?”

What changes do you expect to make to your benefits strategy?

To the best of your knowledge, is your company likely to start, increase, maintain, or decrease investments in employee health and wellness in the next 1–3 years?

Source: 2012 Deloitte Survey of U.S. Employers: Opinions About the U.S. Health Care System and Plans for Employee Health Benefits