As U.S. companies continue to ask workers to shoulder a greater burden of the cost of health care, a new survey from Aon Hewitt, The Futures Company and the National Business Group on Health, reveals that consumers want their employers to do more to help them improve their health and get the most from their employer-provided health and wellness plans.
Together with the National Business Group on Health and The Futures Company, Aon Hewitt surveyed more than 3,000 consumers (employees and their dependents) covered by employer health plans to determine their perspectives, behaviors and attitudes towards health and wellness. Under continued pressure to mitigate costs and adjust to new regulations, employers are continuing to carefully consider the future of their employer-provided health plans. However, as they adjust their plan design and wellness strategies, the survey finds that many employers aren't aligning these strategies with the goals, needs and concerns of their employees.
Faced with rising health care costs and new regulations, more employers are introducing health care plans that require workers to take more responsibility for managing their health and the related costs. In fact, a recent Aon Hewitt report shows that 51 percent of employers now offer a Consumer Driven Health Plan (CDHP), up from just 9 percent in 2005.
While a majority of consumers (74 percent) are worried about being able to afford health care now and in the future, they understand that health improvement programs, along with well designed employer-provided health benefit plans, can help them get healthier while also holding down costs. But, the survey reveals that workers really want four simple things—programs and communication that are easy to use, motivating and meaningful to them, but that also provide personalized information and ideas.
"Employers continue to face countless challenges when it comes to offering health plans that effectively meet the needs of workers and their families, while also managing rising costs," said Helen Darling, president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health. "We hear over and over that the key to ensuring real health improvement is employee engagement, so knowing what employees want and what will motivate them is essential to success. Consumers are telling us that the one-size-fits-all approach to health and wellness isn't working for them. In order to help with their challenges and reduce costs, they want health programs that speak to their individual and families' health care needs."