How the economic climate has impacted health benefits

EXCLUSIVE: Nearly half (44%) of respondents said the economic climate has increased pressure to reduce the cost of providing healthcare benefits over the past 12 months, according to research by Employee Benefits.

The Employee Benefits Healthcare research 2013, which surveyed 376 HR and benefits professionals, found that 42% were prompted to review some or all of their providers to get a better deal, while 27% said their health and wellbeing benefits have felt no impact from the economic climate.

In the coming 12 months, the focus is still on cost-efficiency, with 50% of respondents planning to review some or all of their providers to obtain a better deal and 47% feeling under increased pressure to reduce costs.

Almost one-third (30%) of respondents said the economic climate would encourage greater communication of the healthcare benefits they do offer to obtain value and improve return on investment, compared with 24% who answered the same in 2009.

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These figures have not changed dramatically since the early part of the recession in 2009, when more than half (54%) of respondents felt increased pressure to reduce costs and 44% planned to review providers to get a better deal.

Encouragingly, 10% of respondents plan to increase benefits to remain competitive, despite 24% claiming that it will be harder to justify the cost of offering health benefits, more than three times the number in 2010 (7%).