Welcome to the archives for NewsTalk, an IBJ blog published from November 2007 through December 2010.

Shifting health benefits

July 21, 2009
The end of sweeping cuts in employee health benefits and the beginning of another trend is in sight, says Mike Miles, vice president and senior benefits consultant at Gregory & Appel Insurance.

Employers have slashed benefits so deeply that the cuts are starting to backfire. One example is co-pays. Shift enough of the cost to workers and they become reluctant to spend their own money to see a doctor. Then the chances of nipping big â?? read expensive â?? problems in the bud become more difficult.

Some companies, particularly in certain industries, will continue reducing benefits, Miles says, but the overall push is losing steam.

Now employers are turning to actively encouraging workers to take better care of themselves, with an emphasis on â??actively.â?? Some are beginning to offer discounts on insurance to show up for health screenings, and incentives and coaching to get healthy.

In some cases, companies are bringing screenings and other health offerings to the work place â?? anything to cajole employees to take action.

â??You canâ??t penalize people,â?? Miles says. â??They have to do something, so theyâ??re looking at strategies.â??

How do you feel about this? If your work place offers these benefits, do you use them? Would you if they were offered?
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