Employers Using Benefits Enrollment Systems to Encourage Healthier Employee Lifestyles

Employers are using their benefits enrollment systems to encourage employees to adopt healthier behaviors, a new survey by Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a leading global consulting firm, has found.

The survey of 117 U.S. companies conducted in December 2007, at the end of the annual enrollment process, found that more than half (53 percent) have incorporated health risk assessments into their enrollment systems or will incorporate these programs by 2009. More than one-third (36 percent) use enrollment systems to encourage employees to sign up for disease management programs or will do so by 2009.

"Open enrollment marks the one time each year in which most employees' attention is focused on their benefits programs," said Jeri Stepman, Watson Wyatt's national leader for health and welfare administration. "Including behavior-change information and decision-support tools directly in the enrollment process can make a big difference in the number of people who sign up for wellness programs and take them seriously. Sending out information on healthy behaviors and asking employees to take the initiative is not nearly as effective."

Despite these efforts, most employers have yet to make much progress in integrating their enrollment systems with other benefits-related resources, such as linking directly to an external health plan provider or health savings account/flexible spending account administrator. Although 67 percent have integrated their enrollment system with their HR portal or intranet, only 27 percent have integrated it with their health care provider's system, which often contains robust information on disease management and healthy lifestyles. One out of three (30 percent) has not integrated their enrollment system with any other system.

A key aspect of engaging employees in their benefits -- health care cost modeling -- is the subject of some concern among employers. A significant portion of all respondents -- more than 20 percent -- are dissatisfied with their organization's decision-support and plan-modeling tools. More than half of all respondents are either neutral or dissatisfied with the information provided to employees on managing health and health-related incentives.

"Signing up for health care benefits is a more complex process than it used to be," Stepman said. "Integrating external vendors with internal enrollment systems is a win for both employers and employees. It makes it easier for employees to access the broad range of information they need to truly be engaged in their benefits. And it helps employers manage and reduce the complexity of the process in the long run."

More information on the report, "Navigating Enrollment: Leveraging Technology to Engage Employees," can be found at http://www.watsonwyatt.com/navigatingenrollment.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - May 2022

    May 2022

    Featuring:

    • WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY
      How Wearable Technology is Transforming Safety and the Industrial Workplace
    • TRAINING: CONFINED SPACES
      Five Tips to Improve Safety in Confined Spaces
    • INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE
      Monitor for Asbestos to Help Save Lives
    • PPE: FALL PROTECTION
      Fall Protection Can Be Surprising
    View This Issue