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bSwift Benchmarking Study

By September 18, 2013Commentary

It is indeed the time of year when many people are issuing studies on employer behavior in regard to health benefits.  One such study is the bSwift benchmarking analysis of wellness programs and benefit administration approaches.   (bSwift Study)   Companies with at least 50 employees were surveyed and 380 participated, divided into large employers of over 500 people and those below that level.  Almost all companies have some type of wellness effort, with the major reason being anticipated health cost savings, but only about half of employers have an employee participation rate above 50%.  The components of wellness programs haven’t changed much in recent years, but there is continued growth in biometric testing.  Motivating engagement is increasingly done with incentives, with the most common being premium adjustments and the average value of incentives is growing.  Many incentives are for specific activities like completing an HRA or doing a specific program like stopping smoking.   Employers have been more reluctant to date to penalize/incent achievement of specific biometric levels, such as blood pressure or cholesterol level.  While there has not been a mass movement to defined contribution, more employers are at least considering it.  In terms of administration of health benefits, a surprisingly high number have still not automated key processes, such as enrollment, life changes or use of electronic premium bills.  These figures suggest that there is an opportunity for companies to also lower their administrative costs and increase the accuracy of these processes.

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