Research from Watson Wyatt shows employers are focusing on personal health in benefits packages, as well as access to new services or programs. Benefits consultants for the firm saw several trends emerge as open enrollment season approaches.

  • Employers are continuing to offer incentives for using wellness programs or maintaining healthy lifestyles, but some are starting to implement health risk assessments before granting rewards.
  • Some employers are reducing co-payments for certain prescription drugs, mostly drugs that treat diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Using co-insurance instead of co-payments is another popular way to control costs.
  • More employers plan on opening onsite clinics or giving employees more access to retail clinics or personal health coaches.
  • A survey by the National Business Group on Health and Watson Wyatt found one-third of employers are offering HSAs with high-deductible health plans, and about 10 percent will offer a consumer-directed health plan as their only plan.
  • More employers are paying some or all of the cost of preventative care including vaccinations, exams and screenings for breast, colon and cervical cancer.
  • Web sites, interactive media and social media are replacing printed material as the main way to communicate enrollment information.
  • Many employers are using dependent audits and surcharges on spouses with access to health care from their own employers, but choose to use the employees' instead.

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