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Benefits Are a Top Priority

January 21, 2010

Even though companies have, for the past few years, been cutting benefits as a cost saving measure, current trends in the marketplace indicate that benefits are a top priority for employees. 

According to a 2009 survey by MetLife, nearly 9 in 10 employees are planning to maintain or increase the number of benefits they select and/or their coverage for next year – despite the fact that over one-third of all employees said their household’s discretionary income decreased this year. Recent economic problems, coupled with widespread media coverage of healthcare reform, have caused workers appreciate their benefits and to see them as a valuable tool in keeping their families safe. 

In another recent survey, 42 percent of employers noted an increase in use of the company health plan.  According to the 2009 Staying@Work Report, almost half of employers are seeing an increase in their workers’ use of the employee assistance program (EAP). Additionally, 30 percent of employers are seeing an increase in workers filing disability claims. Meanwhile, unplanned absence is rising among workers at 22 percent of U.S. companies.

As a result of expanding benefits usage, companies are keeping and even increasing their health and productivity programs.  Benefits have become an important tool for companies to use to keep valued employees. But health care costs remain a large concern.

“Companies are finding some relief from high benefit costs by investing in programs that improve the health of their workers,” said Shelly Wolff, national leader of health and productivity consulting at Watson Wyatt.  One such program, available in Texas, is WhiteGlove House Call Health

WhiteGlove lowers the cost of healthcare by capping costs and driving claims away from health insurance plans.  It can also increase productivity and decrease absenteeism by attending to routine medical issues in the office.  As companies continue to deal with rising benefits costs and rising employee expectations, companies like WhiteGlove offer an innovative way to improve morale while cutting healthcare costs.

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