What Do Employers Want from Health Insurers in 2010.

What do employers want from health insurers in 2010? According to a new study by PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute they want two things: Better information and more value.

Employers’ expectations of their health insurers continue to change. While many studies examine the relationship between employees and their employer-sponsored benefits, less is known about employers and what they want from health insurance carriers. The report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute, provides insights and key observations on opportunities for employers and health insurers. What employers want from health insurers in 2010.

Mainly, the study found that employers’ satisfaction with their health insurers eroded during the past year. The study reported that, “Hit by a major recession and thrust into the teeth of a national debate on health reform, employers are taking a critical look at their health benefits strategy and the value they derive from it.”

Here are the key findings:

  • Satisfaction by large employers decreased by an average of five percentage points, from 64% in 2008 to 59% in 2009, while satisfaction among small employers held steady.
  • Overall, small companies continue to be less satisfied with insurers than large companies. Among small companies, the smaller the company, the less satisfied it is with insurer services. Small employers are less satisfied than large employers by an average of seven percentage points.
  • Employers continue to want more meaningful and higher-quality data to help them control costs and keep their employees healthy. Employers would like insurers to take an active role in waste reduction and are looking for consistency and transparency in their health benefit plans.
  • Interest in personal technology tools is surging. Nearly half of all employers now say it is important for insurers to offer them; however, less than half are satisfied. Satisfaction with personal heath records and online comparison tools has dropped 10 percentage points for large employers.
  • With participation hovering around 50% for the past two years, employers need to look beyond the same financial incentives to engage employees in completing health risk assessments and biometric screening. Biometric screening participation decreased in all the incentive categories except the $500 premium reduction and no-incentives categories. Completion of health risk assessments (HRA) jumped eight percentage points in the no-incentives category, but dropped slightly in overall participation.
  • Despite or possibly because of the recession, 60% of employers said they would increase cost-sharing for healthcare with their employees. Of the employers surveyed, it was the most prevalent cost-control strategy.

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute (HRI) provided this research-based insight by evaluating results of surveys conducted by the firm’s Barometer team that included executives at approximately 100 large US-based multinational companies (Management Barometer survey) and 130 privately held small companies (Trendsetter survey). Large companies had an average of 11,000 employees and revenues of about $4 billion, and small employers had a workforce of less than 200 employees and average revenues of $24.3 million. In addition, PwC surveyed more than 650 human resources executives as part of its annual Health and Well-Being Touchstone Survey, which provides detailed benefits information and future healthcare strategies from US companies in 30 industries.

HRI’s research also included in-depth interviews with thought leaders and executives of employers, insurers, and other businesses. Additionally, HRI conducted a literature review of reports and guidance from associations, regulators, and academia to gather insights on current challenges and leading practices.

To obtain a copy of the report, click here.

About PricewaterhouseCoopers

PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for our clients and their stakeholders. More than 163,000 people in 151 countries across our network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice.

Health Research Institute

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute provides new intelligence, perspectives, and analysis on trends affecting all health-related industries, including healthcare providers, pharmaceuticals, health and life sciences, and payers. The Institute helps executive decision-makers and stakeholders navigate change through a process of fact-based research and collaborative exchange that draws on a network of more than 3,000 professionals with day-to-day experience in the health industries. The Institute is part of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ larger initiative for the health-related industries that brings together expertise and allows collaboration across all sectors in the health continuum.

Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers

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