Employers Very Concerned About Controlling Health Care Costs, SHRM Survey Finds

Companies plan to curb their health care costs by continuing to shift more of the expense to employees

January 22, 2015

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — More than three-quarters (79 percent) of organizations that provide health care coverage to their employees are very concerned about controlling health care costs, according to the latest Strategic Benefits—Health Care Survey report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Over the past three years, the percentage of companies indicating that their health care costs went up has remained about the same, yet high, at 69 percent to 74 percent.

To halt some of the increasing costs, one-half of organizations indicated that they increased employee contributions to health care costs in 2014, while about one-quarter (26 percent) of organizations said they planned to increase employees’ share in 2015.

“A growing number of employers are asking employees to contribute a larger percentage of their health care costs,” said Evren Esen, director of SHRM’s survey programs. “But it is important that employers fully assess the potential impact of such a change, especially in today’s improved job market. Shifting health care costs to employees can lower employee job satisfaction and pose a barrier for attracting new talent.”

Almost one-fifth (19 percent) of organizations that provide health care coverage indicated that the use of consumer-directed health plans, such as health reimbursement arrangements and health savings accounts, was the most successful tactic for controlling health care costs. About one-half of respondents said they utilized health and wellness educational initiatives (56 percent) and lower-cost generic prescription drugs (48 percent) to control costs.

The survey captured the responses of 380 randomly selected SHRM members throughout the United States.

The survey results are available online at www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Articles/Pages/2014-SHRM-Strategic-Use-of-Benefits-Health-Care.aspx.

This survey is one of SHRM’s six-part Strategic Benefits Survey report series featuring wellness initiatives, flexible work arrangements, health care, leveraging benefits to retain employees, leveraging benefits to recruit employees, and communicating benefits. The survey series is used to determine how various employee benefits are strategically used to recruit and retain talent. Survey results on wellness initiatives and workplace flexibility also were also released today.

For more surveys and poll findings, visit shrm.org/surveys. Follow SHRM Research on Twitter @SHRM_Research.

Media: For more information or to request an interview, contact Vanessa Gray at 703-535-6072 and Vanessa.Gray@shrm.org or Kate Kennedy of SHRM Public Affairs at 703-535-6260 and Kate.Kennedy@shrm.org.

About the Society for Human Resource Management

Founded in 1948, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest HR membership organization devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 members in over 160 countries, the Society is the leading provider of resources to serve the needs of HR professionals and advance the professional practice of human resource management. SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China, India and United Arab Emirates. Visit us at shrm.org and follow us on Twitter @SHRMPress.


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