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Plus, eight tips to help employees make informed choices
Many U.S. workers can expect higher costs for their employer-sponsored health care benefits when they receive their fall open enrollment benefit packages for 2010. But in addition, employees might find that their 2010 employee benefit packages include financial rewards for promoting healthy lifestyles, full coverage for preventive services, closer scrutiny of dependent and spousal coverage, and greater use of consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs).
“Faced with an uncertain economy and rising health care costs that show few signs of slowing, many employers have made changes to their health benefit plans for 2010,” says Tom Billet, a senior consultant with HR consultancy Watson Wyatt. “While next year’s benefits will reflect these higher costs, workers can also expect employers to continue their commitment to encourage employees to lead healthy lifestyles.”
Billet identified six trends that employees can expect to see in their benefit packages during open enrollment:
Open Enrollment Tips for Employees
In a nationwide U.S.
survey conducted on behalf of health insurer CIGNA in July 2009, nearly half of the respondents (46 percent) said they spend 30 minutes or less reviewing their health care insurance options during open enrollment season (September through December for most companies). In comparison, Americans have said that that they would spend four hours researching a computer purchase, five hours researching a vacation, and eight hours researching a car purchase.
Employees need access to the right information to make the best possible health decisions for themselves and their families. And, given the current economic pressures and rising costs of health care, they could also use some ideas for saving money on health costs. Case in point, the CIGNA survey also revealed that Americans want to save money on their health care costs, with 64 percent saying they’d be willing to spend the time online to save $100 or less.
CIGNA suggests communicating to employees the following tips to help them choose their benefits and maximize their health care dollars.
Stephen Miller is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
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