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More employers considering health plan culture overhauls: Survey


A majority of employers say they are considering redesigning their health care plans to give richer benefits to employees who take action to spot medical problems early before they become serious and more expensive to treat, according to a new survey.

Just over 60% of employers responding to an Aon Hewitt survey, released Wednesday, said they plan to give access to richer plan designs to employees who complete tasks such as a health risk questionnaires or biometric screenings. Only 20% of employers now offer such a feature, Aon Hewitt says.

“Gating strategies are becoming an increasingly attractive incentive technique among employers as they look to improve the health of their employee population,” said Jim Winkler, Aon Hewitt's chief innovation officer of health and benefits in Norwalk, Connecticut.

“For example, employers may offer a high-deductible plan to its entire workforce but make a richer PPO option available to employees who complete a health risk questionnaire or biometric screening,” he said.

The survey also found that 68% of employers plan to adopt reference pricing. Under that approach, employers set a cap on coverage for certain medical services where costs vary widely with no discernible difference in quality. Just 10% of employers now use such an approach.

In addition, 42% of employers say they are considering only offering high-deductible health care plans, compared with just 15% doing so today, while 72% say they are considering reducing premium subsidies for employees' dependents.

The survey is based on the responses of more than 1,230 employers.