The impending removal of the default retirement age has caused employers to assess their benefits strategies, and costs are still under pressure, says Tynan Barton
In the current economic climate obtaining value for money on perks is a continuing focus, with 14% of respondents having reviewed healthcare benefits providers in the past year to get a better deal.
When looking at their combined healthcare and group risk packages, 58% of respondents have reviewed providers.
In 2009, 54% predicted they would be under more pressure to cut costs. In 2010, 7% felt it would be harder to justify costs, with a similar proportion saying the same this year. When looking at both healthcare and group risk benefits, however, 40% said this was the case in the past year.
In January 2011, the government confirmed the default retirement age will be phased out between 6 April and 1 October this year, so employers will no longer be able to forcibly retire an employee once they reach age 65.
However, the government also announced an age exemption for group risk benefits which allows employers to cover staff to a terminal age of 65 or the state pension age, whichever is the greater. With four generations of staff in the workplace and the prospect of an ageing workforce, many employers are assessing whether their health strategies are suitable for older workers.
Just under one-third (30%) of respondents believe they will need to review their health and wellbeing strategies to ensure older workers remain healthy, while 22% plan to review their providers in order to extend the maximum age to which cover can be provided.
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