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Employers' Methods for Containing and Reducing Costs Vary By Region
Date:10/17/2008

The Benefits USA 2008/2009 survey of more than 5,500 benefit plans found 68.3 percent of organizations nationally use wellness programs to contain costs, while 35.6 percent are increasing the employee portion of the premium.

Kansas City, KS (PRWEB) October 17, 2008 -- Employers are utilizing a mix of cost containment and cost reduction measures to combat rising health care costs. The Benefits USA 2008/2009 survey of more than 5,500 benefit plans found 68.3 percent of organizations nationally use wellness programs to contain costs, while 35.6 percent are increasing the employee portion of the premium. Although these trends are prevalent across the country, the report showed increased usage of these methods in the South and Central regions and decreased in the West and East.

Wellness programs have garnered media attention as many organizations are utilizing this method to contain health care costs nationally. Companies in the Midwest have the highest percentage implementing this method, 70.4 percent. Those in the West have the lowest, 63.8 percent. Nationally, the most offered wellness option is flu shots/immunizations. Tobacco cessation and health risk assessments follow with both offered by about one-third of the organizations surveyed. One of the most discussed new tactics, weight management, is offered by just over 20 percent.

While wellness programs are popular, their effects are not immediate, causing some organizations to choose additional methods to alleviate growing costs. Nationally, 18.1 percent of organizations offered a choice of deductible levels. When compared to each region, the South has the highest percentage, 21.6, and the East has the lowest, 13.6 percent. On a national level, 67.4 percent are coordinating benefits to co
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