LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill., March 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- March 23 marks two years since Health Care Reform legislation passed. During this time, many employers have re-examined the way in which they provide health care benefits to employees. While state exchanges will not be available to employers with more than 100 employees until at least 2017, organizations are exploring alternate health care models, such as Corporate Exchanges*, to deliver high-quality, cost-effective health care plans to their employees.
Aon Hewitt, the global human resource solutions business of Aon Corporation (NYSE:AON), recently surveyed 562 employers nationwide and found that 94 percent are committed to offering and financially supporting health benefit coverage for their workforce in some form going forward. Of those surveyed, 72 percent are very or somewhat interested in exploring if a Corporate Exchange model can be an effective long-term solution for managing the cost of an employee health plan. In fact, 44 percent of employers believe they will provide employees health benefits through a Corporate Exchange in the next three to five years, up from the current mark of 4 percent. Employers rank the ability to reduce costs (86 percent), improve access to quality plans (45 percent), enhance health and wellness programs (43 percent) and increase health care choices (43 percent) as the most important features when considering a Corporate Exchange.
"Large employers will continue to provide valuable health care benefits to their employees," said Ken Sperling, national health exchange strategy leader with Aon Hewitt. "The emergence of Corporate Exchanges allows employers and employees to benefit from the competitive dynamic that exchanges create and the promise this competition can have in lowering costs."
In addition, the Aon Hewitt survey revealed 75 percent of employers that could reduce health care costs by moving to a Corporate Exchange would use a portion of the savings to lower labor costs. Meanwhile, 64 percent of organizations indicated they would use the savings to invest in expanding health and wellness programs and 62 percent said they would re-direct these funds to other non-health care related initiatives.
"Every employer, whether they participate in exchanges or not, has a vested interest in the health and performance of their employees," said John Zern, U.S. Health & Benefits Practice director with Aon Hewitt. "Investing in wellness and health improvement will continue to be a priority with employers regardless of their delivery model. That said, exchanges may enable employers to reduce the staff time focused on benefit plan design, increasing attention on efforts that improve health and lead to increased workforce performance."
* Corporate Exchange (also referred to as Private Exchange) enables employers to redefine their commitment to health care benefits in dollar terms, while providing employees more choice and enhanced support. In this turnkey model, Aon Hewitt solicits group-specific insured rates, and the employer determines the contribution for employees to use in purchasing coverage. The employee then picks a coverage level and insurance network based on health needs, employer contribution, provider network participation and risk tolerance.
About this Survey
Aon Hewitt administered an employer Corporate Exchange survey in 2011. More than 560 employers responded to the survey representing a broad spectrum of industries, including retail, higher education, banking, finance, energy. To learn more or to download a copy of the survey report, please visit www.aon.com/healthcareexchange.
About Aon Hewitt
Aon Hewitt is the global leader in human resource solutions. The company partners with organizations to solve their most complex benefits, talent and related financial challenges, and improve business performance. Aon Hewitt designs, implements, communicates and administers a wide range of human capital, retirement, investment management, health care, compensation and talent management strategies. With more than 29,000 professionals in 90 countries, Aon Hewitt makes the world a better place to work for clients and their employees. For more information on Aon Hewitt, please visit www.aonhewitt.com.