SOURCE: Workscape

Workscape

May 17, 2010 09:00 ET

Workscape's 3rd Annual Healthcare Benefits Survey Identifies Key Trends and Cost Cutting Opportunities

With Escalating Plan Costs Now the Norm, Organizations Struggle to Push Process Efficiencies and Adoption of Consumer-Driven Health Plans

MARLBOROUGH, MA--(Marketwire - May 17, 2010) -  Workscape, Inc., a leading provider of integrated HR solutions and services, today announced the results of its 3rd Annual Benefit Survey at this week's WorldatWork Total Rewards 2010 Conference in Dallas. As healthcare plan costs continue to increase, this year's survey examined four areas: costs savings; communications; economic pressures; and political issues.

A total of 868 responses were collected from individuals with benefits program knowledge; titles included benefits manager; vice president, HR; and CEO. Since Workscape has now conducted this research for three years, comparative trends were determined, providing further insights into important employee benefits developments.

  • A big decision for HR is whether to conduct open enrollment in-house or get help from a third-party. Among large organizations with more than 5,000 employees, outsourced solutions have been growing in popularity, up to 40% from 34% in 2009. If this trend continues, within the next two to four years, outsourcing will be more common than in-house solutions.
  • In contrast, mid-sized organizations (1,000-5,000 employees), which have fewer internal economies of scale lag behind their larger counterparts. According to the research, the number of mid-sized organizations using outsourcing is 24%, only slightly higher than small organizations (under 1,000 employees) where 22% outsource open enrollment.
  • The use of outsourced HR service centers was much more effective at reducing the open enrollment burden on HR than in-house support centers, which many employees bypass to go directly to HR with their benefits questions.
  • Adoption of consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) and high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) has stabilized with about half of small and mid-sized organizations and close to two-thirds of large organizations providing these programs to employees.
  • Given that CDHPs can be complex, it is natural that organizations provide employees with decision-support tools. These tools are widely used in large organizations (70%) as well as small organizations (63%).

Respondents observed one positive outcome from intense economic pressures: employees are more appreciative of benefits. In response to the question "Do you feel that today's economic pressures have created a heightened awareness and appreciation for the benefits program your company offers?" more than 70% of respondents said "yes."

Tony Marzulli, Workscape's Chief Marketing and Sales Officer, said, "Healthcare plan increases have become part of the 'new normal.' As a result, organizations need to think creatively to ensure their employees remain engaged without compromising the fiscal health of their companies. Outsourcing open enrollment, adding CDHPs and offering decision-support tools are logical steps in staying competitive in these tough times."

A complimentary white paper containing the full survey results can be downloaded from www.workscape.com/benefitstrends2010.

About Workscape
Proven experts in employee performance, compensation and benefits administration, Workscape is the only company with domain proficiency and extensive experience across these three vital pillars of human resources. The blend of Workscape's Total Rewards Platform™ and services helps clients solve complex HR challenges such as pay for performance, compensation planning, and benefits eligibility and enrollment. For more than a decade, Workscape has delivered the software and services that enable organizations to drive predictable outcomes through engaged, top performing workforces. For more information about Workscape, visit www.workscape.com, follow twitter.com/workscape or call 888-605-9620.