Watson Wyatt and the National Business Group on Health surveyed 282 companies for the 2009 Staying@Work Report. According to the study, 42 percent of employers noted an increase in employee utilization of the company health plan and almost half (47 percent) of employers said they are seeing an increase in the use of employee assistance programs.
Researchers said employers are strengthening their benefit programs and initiatives. More than half (51 percent) of companies said they are planning no change or a slight increase to their health and productivity program budgets. In addition, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of employers said they had already enhanced their onsite offerings with programs geared toward stress management, EAPs or health coaches, or expect to do so in the next 12 months.
"Companies are finding some relief from high benefit costs by investing in programs that improve the health of their workers," said Shelly Wolff, national leader of health and productivity consulting at Watson Wyatt. "Workers who haven't lost their jobs are under great amounts of stress and are increasingly turning to their employer for advice, treatment or assistance that goes beyond basic coverage when they get sick. Still, employer initiatives that effectively deal with stress are limited."
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February 4, 2010
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