Survey: Employee Health Remains Priority for U.S. Companies

Despite unprecedented economic challenges and a dramatic shift in political power, a new survey by Hewitt Associates, a human resources consulting and outsourcing company, reveals that while cost containment remains a priority, most large U.S. employers are continuing to make significant long-term investments in solutions and programs aimed at improving the health and productivity of their workforce.

However, the changing political landscape--coupled with ongoing cost pressures--has prompted many companies to seriously consider their future role as a health care benefits provider.

In January 2009, Hewitt conducted a survey of more than 340 employers, representing more than five million employees, to understand their current and future approaches to health care benefits. While the number of companies focused solely on mitigating annual health care costs has more than doubled this year--from 15 percent in 2008 to 31 percent in 2009--almost two-thirds (65 percent) said they are continuing to make significant investments in improving the health and productivity of their workforce despite the troubled economy.

Nevertheless, 4 percent of companies indicated they are taking steps today that will enable them to discontinue providing health care benefits altogether. This picture changes somewhat when employers described their future approach to health care. While most companies (75 percent) plan to focus on improving employee health and productivity in the next three to five years, one-fifth (19 percent) said their strategy is to move away from directly providing health care benefits, up from 4 percent in 2008. Given that alternative health care offerings are being discussed in earnest by the Obama administration, these employers may see exiting health care as a more viable option than it was in the past.

"In today's environment, employers are under pressure to cut health care expenses, but they realize that short term cost management tactics do not address the underlying drivers of health care cost," said Jim Winkler, head of Hewitt's North America Health Management Consulting practice.

Product Showcase

  • Matrix's OmniPro Vision AI Collision Avoidance System

    OmniPro Vision AI is a state-of-the-art collision avoidance system that features NIOSH award-winning Visual Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology. This highly accurate, powerful system identifies and alerts on pedestrians, vehicles and specified objects, ensuring safer facilities, mining operations and industrial sites. With its web-based cloud application, OmniPro Vision AI also logs and analyzes a wide range of data related to zone breach notifications. Operating without needing personal wearable devices or tags, OmniPro has visual and audible zone breach alerts for both operators and pedestrians. Read More

  • AirChek Connect Sampling Pump

    Stay connected to your sampling with the SKC AirChek® Connect Sampling Pump! With its Bluetooth connection to PC and mobile devices, you can monitor AirChek Connect pump operation without disrupting workflow. SKC designed AirChek Connect specifically for all OEHS professionals to ensure accurate, reliable flows from 5 to 5000 ml/min and extreme ease of use. AirChek Connect offers easy touch screen operation and flexibility. It is quality built to serve you and the workers you protect. Ask about special pricing and a demo at AIHA Connect Booth 1003. Read More

  • Magid® D-ROC® GPD412 21G Ultra-Thin Polyurethane Palm Coated Work Gloves

    Magid’s 21G line is more than just a 21-gauge glove, it’s a revolutionary knitting technology paired with an advanced selection of innovative fibers to create the ultimate in lightweight cut protection. The latest offering in our 21G line provides ANSI A4 cut resistance with unparalleled dexterity and extreme comfort that no other 21-gauge glove on the market can offer! Read More