Navigation Links
U.S. Workers Taking Steps to Lower Medical Costs, Watson Wyatt Survey Finds
Date:12/10/2008

Significant Drop in Number of Employees Willing to Pay Higher Premiums to Keep Out-of-Pocket Costs Low

WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- In the midst of an economic crisis, rising health costs are leading an increasing number of U.S. workers to take steps to reduce their own spending on medical care, according to a survey by Watson Wyatt, a leading global consulting firm.

With more workers suffering financially during this open enrollment period, a significantly lower number of employees (19 percent) are willing to pay higher premiums in order to keep deductibles and co-pays lower and more predictable. Last year, twice as many (38 percent) were willing to do so. In addition, two-thirds (66 percent) of employees are taking steps to improve personal care, up four percentage points from 2007, according to Watson Wyatt's Employee Perspectives on Health Care, a survey of 2,487 employees of large U.S. companies conducted in May and June 2008.

"Workers will continue to look for avenues to save money in tight times," said Cathy Tripp, national leader of consumerism at Watson Wyatt. "In the current financial climate, employers stand to gain from reinforcing messages on preventive care, wellness resources and the importance of following prescribed drug regimens. There are a number of behaviors that, if embraced today, will lead to substantial health cost savings in the long term."

Yet, despite the opportunity to save money, the survey found that some workers are taking actions that could lead to higher costs in the future. For instance, the survey found that 17 percent avoided a recommended doctor's visit this year to save costs. Similarly, 17 percent did not fill a prescription or skipped doses of prescribed medicine, an increase from 13 percent in 2007.

On the other hand, nearly half (46 percent) of employees choose lower-cost drug options, and 40 percent go to the doctor only for serious conditions. Both represent increases from last year. While a relatively low number of employees are seeking more affordable treatment options (14 percent), looking for inexpensive care providers (8 percent) or negotiating lower prices with their doctor (2 percent), each cost-saving measure is trending up from 2007.

Steps employees are taking to reduce spending on medical care



    Action                                          Taken in      Taken in
                                                     2007 (%)      2008 (%)
    Tried to improve personal care                     61%           66%
    Chose a lower-cost drug option                     42%           46%
    Visited the doctor only for serious
     condition/symptom                                 35%           40%
    Saved money in an account used only for
     medical expenses                                  15%           20%
    Skipped a recommended doctor's visit                NA           17%
    Did not fill a prescription or skipped
     doses of prescribed medicine                      13%           17%
    Used company-sponsored wellness programs            NA           16%
    Talked with my doctor about seeking more
     affordable treatments                              9%           14%
    Looked for less expensive health care               4%            8%
    Negotiated lower prices with my doctor              1%            2%

    Note: Some questions were new in 2008


The economy and higher health costs are taking a toll on the long-term financial security of many workers. This year, health costs are forcing many employees to decrease their retirement savings plan contributions (13 percent), and a fifth of workers (20 percent) indicate that their ability to save for retirement is reduced because of health costs. Also, more workers acknowledge difficulty paying for basic needs (15 percent in 2008 compared to 10 percent last year), depleted personal savings (11 percent in 2008 compared to 6 percent in 2007) or needing to borrow money (10 percent in 2008 compared to 5 percent in 2007). For employees in fair or worse health the impact is even more significant.

"The health-wealth connection is more clear than ever, as pressures from high health costs continue to pose challenges to both companies and employees," said Tripp. "Open communication and clear, concise educational tools are effective ways to help employees realize the many steps they can take to manage costs without compromising care."

To view the 2008 "Employee Perspectives on Health Care" report, visit www.watsonwyatt.com/employeeperspectives.

About Watson Wyatt Worldwide

Watson Wyatt (NYSE, Nasdaq: WW) is the trusted business partner to the world's leading organizations on people and financial issues. The firm's global services include: managing the cost and effectiveness of employee benefit programs; developing attraction, retention and reward strategies; advising pension plan sponsors and other institutions on optimal investment strategies; providing strategic and financial advice to insurance and financial services companies; and delivering related technology, outsourcing and data services. Watson Wyatt has 7,600 associates in 32 countries and is located on the Web at www.watsonwyatt.com.


'/>"/>
SOURCE Watson Wyatt Worldwide
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. New Study Reports High Injury Rates for Hotel Workers, Even Higher Rates for Women and Nonwhites
2. Hospital Workers: Management Threatens Patient Care
3. Healthcare Workers Ratify Contract by a 98% Vote
4. Workers Win Contract at St. Francis Medical Center
5. Healthcare Workers Rally to Address Concerns About Layoffs and Quality Patient Care
6. Oil Spill Cleanup May Hurt Workers Lungs
7. Depression Pushes Middle-Aged Workers to Retire
8. The Integrated Benefits Institute Offers Largest Benchmarking Database in U.S. Spanning Disability and Workers Compensation Programs
9. Disabilities Rising Among Workers; Need for Employer-Driven Disability Awareness, Support Efforts Also Increases
10. Saint Vincent Health System of Erie, Pennsylvania Named One of AARP 2007 Best Employers for Workers Over 50
11. Treatment Programs Benefit Depressed Workers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/22/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... OSF Ventures, the corporate investment ... an early stage company in San Francisco that has developed software to individualize ... Innovation Fund acted as the lead investor in the round. , Medicine ...
(Date:5/21/2017)... ... May 20, 2017 , ... ... ABC Financial Services and financial systems. , Dozens of clubs using ... that are electronically processed through GetLinked into their club’s accounting system , The ...
(Date:5/21/2017)... ... May 21, 2017 , ... ... together a cross-disciplinary group of scholars, policymakers, and activists wanting to address equity ... Equity is the third book from a recent series of from this ...
(Date:5/21/2017)... ... ... Following the tragic and widely publicized death of Rory Staunton, 12, from ... follow a protocol to quickly identify and treat the condition. , The mandate ... have saved Rory or anyone else’s life. , Now, five years after the ...
(Date:5/19/2017)... NC (PRWEB) , ... May 19, 2017 , ... ... the Charlotte health community, Queens University of Charlotte recently began recruitment efforts for ... program’s curriculum arms students with the skills, knowledge and expertise to approach and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2017)... , May 4, 2017  DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: ... health and big data solutions, today announced that it ... Company, and STI Technologies Limited to lower diabetes healthcare ... Through STI,s innoviCares card, which is available throughout all ... DarioHealth customers will be eligible for additional savings when ...
(Date:5/4/2017)... 2017   BioLife Solutions , Inc. (NASDAQ: ... of proprietary clinical grade hypothermic storage and ... today announced that the Company,s first quarter 2017 financial ... May 11, 2017, and that the Company will host ... PT that afternoon. Management will provide an overview of ...
(Date:5/3/2017)... , May 3, 2017  Kalorama Information notes ... nine percent next year and this is projected ... hematopoietic stem cell (HSCT) or bone marrow transplants ... technologies are well-suited for this task. This according ... publisher Kalorama Information. The various PCR-based methodologies, Sanger ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: