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Watson Wyatt Identifies Trends for Benefits Open Enrollment Season
Date:9/29/2008

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Open enrollment season throughout corporate America is rapidly approaching, and that means millions of workers will be making important decisions about their employee benefit coverage for next year. This year's menu of options will feature an increased emphasis on personal health behaviors as well as enhancements that give workers access to new health services and programs, according to benefit consultants at Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a leading global consulting firm.

"Employers are making great efforts to bring the dollar value of health care benefits into their employees' decision-making process," said Randall Abbott, senior health care consultant at Watson Wyatt. "With more employers shifting to plans with higher deductibles, introducing health savings accounts and offering new incentives and penalties, employees need to take a more active role in their plan management and evaluate which benefits are right for themselves and their families."

Watson Wyatt benefit consultants have identified the following trends that employees can expect to see in their benefit packages during open enrollment:

-- Increased emphasis on improving personal health. The number of employers offering financial incentives to maintain healthy lifestyles or participate in wellness programs continues to grow. Some employers, however, are starting to require that employees complete health risk assessments to receive an incentive award or participate in the plan. Other employers are asking workers to go even farther by activating a personal health record or participating in a lifestyle or health improvement program.

-- Value-based prescription drug benefits and a shift to co-insurance. Many employers are reducing copayments on certain prescription drug therapies that they recognize can help lower health costs and hospitalizations. Two popular classes of drugs targeted are antidiabetic agents and those that treat car
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SOURCE Watson Wyatt Worldwide
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