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2009 ISCEBS Survey Findings

Employers Anxious About Retiree Medical Promises: ISCEBS/Towers Perrin Survey Findings

A weak economy and uncertainty about the direction, timing, or impact of national health care reform have plan sponsors in a quandary as to how to address the rising cost and continuing administrative burden of their retiree medical plans. These findings are from a new survey from ISCEBS and Towers Perrin. The survey also revealed a sense of urgency about the need to make changes to costly retiree medical plans, an urgency compounded by the historical lack of marketplace solutions for pre-Medicare retirees, creating further anxiety among plan sponsors.

The joint nationwide survey conducted by Towers Perrin and the International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists, now in its fifth year, drew responses from 155 organizations on issues and objectives influencing retiree medical strategy and design.

Press Release | Full Survey Findings

HSAs Are Preferred By Employers Offering Consumer-Driven Health Plans: Aon/ISCEBS Survey Findings

Of employers who offer a consumer-driven health plan, Health Savings Accounts continue to be the preferred funding choice among organizations, according to a survey released today by Aon Consulting, and ISCEBS. Of the 370 survey respondents, 44% of employers currently offer a consumer-driven health (CDH) plan to employees, which is similar to last year but significantly higher than in 2006 when only 28% of employers offered this type of plan to their workforce. Over the last three years, the gap has widened between HSAs and HRAs, as the number of employers offering HSAs has increased, and the number offering HRAs has dropped. The survey also found that more employers who offer the HSA plan are contributing money to the plan (66% versus 60% last year). Similar to last year, employers currently offering a CDH plan are mainly doing so to control health plan costs or to introduce “consumer engagement” into the purchasing of health care for long-term change.

Press Release | Full Survey Findings

Average Stop-Loss Premium — An Elusive Figure: ISCEBS/Aegis Risk Survey Findings

The current economy requires benefit managers to seek cost efficiency in all offerings. For those with self-funded medical plans, or exploring it, medical stop loss remains a significant expense. The financial risk of high claimants is also rising – with $1 million claimants no longer an exception. Costly stop loss premiums reflect this, but competitive data is often difficult to obtain. To assist plan sponsors, ISCEBS has for the third year partnered with Aegis Risk to produce this annual survey. Read the full summary here.

401(k) Benchmarking Survey Findings: Plans are bent, but not broken, with most employers taking a "wait and see" approach

In its 8th year, the survey is again sponsored by ISCEBS, the International Foundation and Deloitte Consulting and offers a detailed snapshot of the 401(k) policies, features, objectives and expectations of hundreds of diverse employers. A total of 606 companies responded to the survey. This comprehensive survey offers a detailed examination of 401(k) policies and practices, and how plan sponsors and participants intend to utilize these powerful retirement savings instruments.

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Press Release | Full Survey Findings

Findings by Industry

COBRA Survey Results: More Are Eligible, But Fewer Elect Coverage

As more and more employees become eligible for COBRA continuing health coverage due to layoffs, a smaller and smaller percentage of them are actually signing up for it, due to its high cost. That is the finding of a survey this spring by ISCEBS and Spencer's Benefits Reports , a leading research service for employee benefits plan administrators at organizations across the U.S .

The responses for 2009 were notable in that they continued at least one trend started in 2002. More re­sponses than ever viewed the cost of COBRA as too high from the employee's perspective. This concern hardly registered among employers until 2002 but in the last two surveys ranked 1 and 2.

Press Release | Full Survey Results (Members Only) 

Health Care Plans: Impact of the Financial Crisis: As Employers Cut Health Care Costs, Employees Increase Utilization

A recent survey by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans shows the recession is forcing employers to increase cost-sharing approaches. Plan participants are using their benefits—while they still have them.

Survey responses indicate that while few plan sponsors are cutting or considering cutting health care benefits altogether, many are ramping up their cost-sharing approaches.

Plan sponsors aren't the only ones reacting to the recession. Survey respondents are reporting that plan participants, perhaps fearing an impending layoff, are increasing utilization of their benefits.

Even those who are hanging onto their jobs are struggling with health care costs. About one-fifth of survey respondents report plan participants are delaying medical care and skimping on prescription drugs because of financial problems.

The upside of today's climate is a heightened focus on wellness programs.  Eighteen percent of the respondents have introduced or are considering introducing wellness initiatives due to the economy.

Society members can download a free copy of this survey through the ISCEBS/International Foundation Bookstore.

Total Rewards priorities survey results point to delayed retirement, increased cost concerns and generational differences – Deloitte/ISCEBS 15th Annual Top Five Survey

For employers, the current financial crisis has thrust containing health care costs to the forefront, edging out attracting, developing and retaining employees. Talent, number one in 2008, slid to the number two spot, indicating that employers continue to struggle with balancing the need to control costs and proactively manage talent. The survey also indicates that organizations are putting greater emphasis on non-monetary rewards to address both cost and talent challenges.

Other findings show that almost half of the respondents now plan to delay their retirement, reflecting their number one personal concern of being able to afford retirement. Nearly half of respondents plan to increase contributions to their private savings and more than a third plan to initiate retirement planning outside of employer-provided resources.

New in 2009, the responses to questions specific to generational concerns indicate that despite the presence of four generations in the workforce, more than 30 percent report that generational preferences are not a factor in rewards strategy or changes.

Press Release | Full Survey Findings


Contact Us

International Society of Certified Employee Benefit Specialists
18700 W. Bluemound Rd.
P.O. Box 209
Brookfield, Wisconsin 53008-0209

Telephone: 888-334-3327, option 6
FAX: (262) 786-8650