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Health Care Reform Is Prompting Changes In Employee Benefits

As brokers and employers get ready to meet the benefits challenges posed by health care reform, many American workers have concerns about how the reforms will affect their worksite benefits. According to Health Care Reform: The Waiting Is Over, the third in a series of research briefs based on The Prudential Insurance Company of America’s (Prudential’s) Seventh Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today & Beyond, nearly half (46%) of employees believe it is likely that the cost of health insurance will increase overall and nearly a third (31%) say it’s likely that fewer employers will offer health insurance coverage.

Brokers and employers both anticipate consequences from health care reform, with brokers expecting a larger impact. Both groups agree that benefits funding will be most affected. Among their top concerns, brokers expect the number of employee benefits offered (80%) and benefit communications (78%) to be highly impacted, while employers note benefits service and support (56%), as well as number of benefits offered (55%) as their top concerns.

Seventy-two percent of brokers say that “expertise and thought leadership on health care reform” from insurers is either critical or very helpful.

“Brokers tell us that helping clients navigate heath care reform and lowering clients’ benefits costs are their most critical priorities,” says Vishal Jain, vice president, Strategy and Planning for Prudential Group Insurance. “They are looking to us, the carriers, to provide the marketing, education, and communications that will help employers to continue to deliver strong benefit offerings.”

Mid-size employers (500 to 9,999 employees) anticipate a greater impact on all aspects of employee benefits compared to small or large companies. Sixty-eight percent say that health care reform will have a significant impact on employee benefits funding, and 61% say it will have a significant impact on employee benefits communications. Large companies (10,000+ employees) were less likely to say that the number of employee benefits offered will be impacted.

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