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U.S. Workers Taking Steps to Lower Medical Costs, Watson Wyatt Survey Finds

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 di

SOURCE Watson Wyatt Worldwide
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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