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Employers Plan to Increase Use of Self-Service Decision-Making Technology For Open Enrollment, Watson Wyatt Survey Finds
Date:12/1/2009

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- With employee benefit choices becoming more complex, a growing number of employers are providing self-service decision-making tools to workers during open enrollment season, according to a new survey by Watson Wyatt, a leading global consulting firm. A majority of employers who offer these tools believe they lead employees to make changes in their plan decisions.

According to the survey, 45 percent of companies offered employees self-service decision tools to assist them with their health care decisions during this year's open enrollment season, and 56 percent plan to provide more next year. The survey also found that 50 percent saw an increase in the use of these tools this year compared to last year. Moreover, almost three-quarters (74 percent) of the employers that provide these tools believe employees altered their plan decisions based on using them. The Watson Wyatt survey was conducted in mid-November 2009 and includes responses from 349 U.S. employers.

The survey found that the greatest challenge employers cited during this year's open enrollment was employee understanding of new plan features -- 39 percent of employers said this issue was moderately to extremely challenging, and 32 percent said it was more challenging when compared to last year. Approximately one in three employers (32 percent) considered explaining price changes to be moderately to extremely challenging, and 26 percent said it was more challenging this year than last year.

"Most employers are at a point where they breeze through open enrollment. Increasingly, however, more are seizing the opportunity to help employees improve their own health and well-being. Self-service decision tools can be an essential part of the process to move employees away from being passive participants in a company health plan," said Richard Nicholas, senior technology consultant at Watson Wyatt. "For instance, a medica
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SOURCE Watson Wyatt
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