SOURCE: Illinois Technology Association (ITA)

Illinois Technology Association (ITA)

August 19, 2009 12:45 ET

Illinois Technology Association Releases 2009 Industry Employee Benefits Report

Annual Report Highlights Industry Benchmarks and Practical Strategies for Employee Benefits as National Healthcare Discussion Continues

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - August 19, 2009) - The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) is pleased to announce the release of their annual employee benefits survey for the Illinois technology industry. The subject of employee benefit offerings is very timely for the technology community and the nation at large. Given the current discussion around health insurance and the availability of insurance from employers and/or co-operatives, it is a great time to discover how ITA membership, which represents almost 600 of Illinois' small businesses, fared in benefits and cost containment.

This year's survey had 142 participants answer more than 75 questions related to their health insurance, retirement benefit plans, vacation policies, and more. The report measures participation in a variety of benefit programs, providing interesting benchmarks as well as some key statistical insights.

One of the key insights was related to wellness programs. The study found that wellness programs appeared to be directly correlated with slower increases in benefits costs. In fact, every $11M-$25M company in 2009 who did not have a wellness program, saw increases in medical insurance at a disproportionately higher rate compared to those who did have a wellness program in place.

A large percentage of participants reported receiving medical insurance premium increases again this year, but even more patterns emerged. The percentage of companies who received large medical premium increases seems to have declined this year over last, with 34.7% seeing increases of more than 10%. Last year that same group totaled 46.3%.

While 89.9% of survey participants offer medical insurance, there is a wide range of additional benefits that businesses can offer. Of the items we asked about both last year and this year, all showed higher participation rates among employers in the current year. For example, Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) were offered by 46% of participants in 2008. Now, 55.3% report offering Dependent Care. There were similar jumps in the percentage of firms offering other employee benefits including Employee Assistance, New-Hire Referral Bonuses, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Club Membership, and Adoption Assistance.

One of the survey participants was Jennifer Browning, Director of Human Resources for Cleversafe. When asked about her involvement with the ITA Strategic Intelligence effort, Jennifer said, "The data from ITA provides further validation of our Benefits Strategy. At Cleversafe, we have a philosophy of emphasizing employee ownership as a means to managing cost. Our deep focus on engaging employees through education has fueled a strong return on investment with regard to the enrollment statistics in our consumer-driven health plan and resulting cost savings. The ITA Strategic Intelligence report enabled us to clearly benchmark our results which indicated we are ahead of the curve in the execution of our strategy."

The full report is available to ITA members and summary information is available by request at www.illinoistech.org.

In addition to the employee benefits survey, the ITA produces other strategic intelligence for the Illinois technology community including an annual industry outlook and salary survey.

About the ITA

The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) represents the interests of a diverse membership of more than 550 companies in Illinois that create, deploy and utilize information technology as a core part of their organization. By connecting members with industry peers and participants, providing the latest strategic information, market research and critical market insight and by promoting key thought leaders to raise visibility and gain a greater market awareness and presence, ITA is focused on building and developing the Illinois technology community through collaboration. Additional information is available at www.illinoistech.org.

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