News and Commentary

Snapshot: Large employers warm up to online option

Employers are going to want more Web-based health benefits packages this year, predicts Forrester Research. The consulting company says that these plans are characterized by online access to services, a decision-support mechanism, and benefit designs that have higher deductibles matched with a new form of spending account, funded all or in part by the employer.

"Aetna has such a plan, called Health Fund," says Bradford J. Holmes, a Forrester analyst. Other carriers, he notes, are rolling out their own, such as Anthem's "Anthem by Design."

Large employers — those with 1,000 or more employees — seem to be warming to these plans, which Forrester calls e-health plans. While only 4 percent offered such plans last year, the share of companies that will add at least one e-health plan to their benefits offerings will soar to 16 percent, and jump again to 24 percent next year. Forrester bases its findings on a survey of 25 human resources and benefits executives.

Employers offering an e-health plan



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