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Survey: Employers Have High Confidence They Can Control Health Care Costs With Proper Tools

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 General News J E 4
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INDIANAPOLIS, April 22 United Benefit Advisors, LLC (UBA),one of the nation's leading employee benefits advisory organizations, todayannounced key findings from its 2008 UBA Employer Opinion Survey, whichdelineates employers' specific health care strategies, health benefitsphilosophy and opinion, health plan management, and Consumer Driven HealthCare.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080422/CLTU012LOGO )

The release of the 2008 UBA Employer Opinion Survey containsrepresentative responses from employers by both region and employer size. Ofthe 1,664 employers polled, 72.5% have or want to have a wellness program thatutilizes a health risk assessment; and 59.2% have or desire to implement achronic disease management program. The survey also found that employers with200 or more employees were 54% more likely to describe themselves as "leadingedge" or "fairly quick" to adopt wellness programs. Firms with more than 1,000employees produced results that indicated they were two-and-a-half times aslikely to describe themselves as "leading edge" or "fairly quick" concerningdisease management program adoption.

"The tide has clearly turned in that the majority of employers believe inthe long-term value and positive impact that comprehensive wellness anddisease management programs provide," said William Stafford, Vice President,Member Services for UBA. "Keeping the healthy employees healthy whilestabilizing and/or improving the health of employees with chronic conditionswill dramatically improve everyone's health and quality of life."

Other clear trends emerged related to employers' perspective on what thegovernment's role should be in improving the health care landscape. Just 26%of employers want the government to develop a taxpayer-funded universal healthcare system. Without regard to employee size or geographic region, more than75% of employers surveyed felt the government should require hospitals anddoctors to:

"This survey illustrates that employers have a high level of confidence intheir ability to control health care costs and that their employees can makeinformed choices if given the additional tools necessary to do so," Staffordsaid. "In the current environment, the absence of readily available price andquality data coupled with an expectation of both employers and employees tomake sound health care decisions is like asking someone to navigate turbulentwaters while blindfolded and without the ability to steer."

"Overall, the survey results show that employers take their role as theprimary source for health care coverage in America quite seriously," Staffordsaid. "Employers have made it quite clear that they cannot take soleresponsibility for health care costs; they need to partner with employees,physicians, hospitals and the government to find a solution to the health carecrisis we are all experiencing."

ABOUT THE 2008 UBA EMPLOYER OPINION SURVEY

The 2008 UBA Employer Opinion Survey and the 2007 UBA Employer Survey(which addressed personal health management/wellness, employee communicationsand scope of benefits) serve as companion pieces to the 2007 UBA Health PlanSurvey. Released this past August, the 2007 UBA Health Plan Survey is thelargest health plan benchmarking survey in the nation. Results from the 2008UBA Health Plan Survey will be released in August 2008.

ABOUT UNITED BENEFIT ADVISORS

United Benefit Advisors, one of the nation's largest employee benefitadvisory organizations, has more than 1,900 experienced benefits professionalsin more than 165 offices throughout the U.S. and Canada. An alliance of 140 ofthe nation's premier independent benefit advisory firms, UBA members arebetter positioned to help employers and their employees respond moreefficiently and effectively to the challenges of an ever-changing employeebenefit marketplace. Visit UBA online at www.benefi
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