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Large employers planning more involvement in workers' health care

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Big employers intend to get more involved in improving the health of their employees, according to a new survey.

Nearly two-thirds of the 448 employers surveyed by Lincolnshire, Ill.-based Hewitt Associates Inc. said they plan to get "much more involved" in their employees' health in the future, while just under one-third said they would maintain their current level of focus. None of the respondents said they would stop directly offering health care plans to their employees.

Employer involvement, in fact, already is on the rise. For example, 77% of respondents said they now have programs in place to analyze health care claims to determine the prevalence of chronic conditions, which is an increase from the 48% that had the programs in 2006. and 42% now have wellness programs, up from 35% in 2006.

Additionally, employers expect enrollment--now very low--in health savings accounts linked to high-deductible health insurance plans to surge.

For example, while respondents said just 3% of eligible employees were enrolled in 2006 in HSA-linked plans, they expect this percentage to quadruple by 2009, with 20% of employees enrolled in HSAs by 2011.

Copies of the Hewitt Associates survey, "The Road Ahead: Emerging Health Trends 2007," are available by contacting Hewitt's information desk at 847-295-5000 or from infodesk@hewitt.com.