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

diovascular disease. More employers are also replacing copayments for prescriptions drugs with coinsurance arrangements in efforts to control costs.

-- Greater access to onsite clinics, retail clinics and health coaches. More employers will open onsite clinics for employees and their families next year, as well as give them greater access to retail medical clinics and personal health coaches. Nearly 30 percent of employers surveyed by Watson Wyatt and the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) plan to operate onsite clinics next year while six out of 10 employers plan to give workers access to personal health coaches. More employers are also including retail medical clinics as part of their health coverage to help ease access to primary care services and avoid emergency room visits for after-hours urgent care needs.

-- Health savings accounts linked to high-deductible health plans. One- third of large employers intend to offer workers health savings accounts linked to high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) next year, according to the Watson Wyatt/NBGH survey. Also, roughly one out of 10 employers intends to offer a consumer-directed health plan as its only health plan next year, while others are attempting to steer workers into these plans through lower premiums.

-- Full coverage or low copayments for preventive screenings and tests. More employers are covering preventive medical care and even preventive drugs at 100 percent with no deductible. Often included in these fully paid benefits are vaccinations, exams and screenings for early diagnosis of and intervention in breast, colon and cervical cancer. Many employers also provide coverage or partial reimbursement for blood pressure and cholesterol checks, and flu shots.

-- Greater use of new media to communicate benefit information. Printed materials to communicate benefit choices to workers are being replaced or supplemented with Web sites, interactive Webcasts and other forms of social
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SOURCE Watson Wyatt Worldwide
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