|Employees Paying More For Healthcare; Getting More Preventive Support, Says Study
There was good news and bad news as employees signed up
for their employer-sponsored healthcare benefits, according to a survey
by consulting firm Towers Watson (formerly Watson Wyatt).
Many U.S. workers are paying more this year for their
health insurance but along with the increase came a benefit package
that included financial rewards for promoting healthy lifestyles, full
coverage for preventive services, closer scrutiny of dependent and
spousal coverage, and greater use of consumer-directed health plans.
Many employers are embracing this two-pronged strategy
because they are facing "an uncertain economy and rising healthcare
costs that show few signs of slowing," said Tom Billet, a senior
consultant with Towers Watson.
Towers Watson benefit consultants have identified trends
that employees can expect to see in their benefit packages during open
- Higher out-of-pocket costs;
- Greater use of incentives to stay healthy;
- Consumer-directed health plans;
- Consolidation of health plan offerings;
- Prescription drug benefits changes, including 100
percent coverage on a list of preventive medications, or zero co-pays
on certain prescription drug therapies known to help lower health costs
and reduce hospitalizations; and
- Closer eye on duplicative spousal and dependent coverage.
Address: Towers Watson, 875 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022; www.towerswatson.com.