Many US workers favour defined contribution (DC) payment systems, but want their employers to administer them, according to Watson Wyatt's latest study.
When it comes to employer-sponsored health benefits, a majority of workers (55%) surveyed also want more choices and 54% are even willing to pay more to receive them.
Watson Wyatt's 2001 Best Practices in Health Care Vendor Management study is based on interviews with 255 employers and survey responses from more than 10,000 workers at 18 organisations.
The survey found that 39% of employees favour and only 23% object to a defined contribution model, where employees receive money from the employer to purchase their own insurance. However, a vast majority of employees still want their employer to facilitate enrolment and premium payment (92%), intervene if a plan denies payment or treatment (86%), monitor administrative performance (86%), negotiate price and performance standards (81%), and screen plans for quality (79%).
These responses clearly indicate that employees do not want their employers to get out of the business of sponsoring and managing health plans, observes Roland McDevitt of Watson Wyatt's research and information centre.
Employers recognise the problems with a voucher system, which leaves employees without negotiating power. It also lacks tax effectiveness and it fails to provide affordable coverage to high-risk individuals and those with dependants.
By Janet Du Chenne
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