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Cowden Associates Releases Eighth-Annual Employee Benefit Survey Results
Date:3/26/2009

Data May Serve As Benchmark to Measure Upcoming Healthcare Reform Legislation

PITTSBURGH, March 26 /PRNewswire/ -- With the healthcare reform expected during newly elected President Obama's term, results of Cowden Associates, Inc.'s Eighth Annual Tri-State Area Employee Benefit Survey could prove to be a benchmark against which recent and upcoming healthcare reform legislation can be measured.

The survey was conducted in late fall 2008 through early 2009. All respondent data were returned before the inauguration of the new administration, providing tri-state employers with baseline data to gauge how their healthcare costs will be affected by healthcare reform.

"We're already starting to see how legislative activity is affecting employer-sponsored plan costs," said Cowden Associates Executive Vice President Vince Wolf. "For example, compliance with COBRA changes and mandated benefit changes, such as mental health parity, are expected to contribute to cost increases in the coming years."

At the same time, the promise of national healthcare reform can put downward pressure on other cost trends.

"When healthcare reform has been high on a new president's agenda, such as when President Clinton took office in 1993, some employee benefit costs have decreased," Wolf said. "I expect we will see both upward and downward pressure on cost trends. As 2009 unfolds, we'll get a much clearer sense of which direction particular trends will move."

Cowden Associates, the region's leading independent human resources, compensation and employee benefit consulting firm, compiled results of its 2008-2009 survey from 230 employer participants throughout the tri-state region of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. For-profit, nonprofit and governmental employers are among the participants. Size of employers ranged from less
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SOURCE Cowden Associates, Inc.
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