Employees Unhappy With Health-Care Plans, Study Shows

Better communications could improve employee satisfaction with health-care benefits programs, concludes a recent survey of 10,000 employees at 18 companies. Global human-resources consulting group Watson Wyatt says results show that only 43% of surveyed workers are satisfied with the overall performance of their health plan, and fewer than half (48%) trust their employer to design a plan that meets their needs. Sixty-nine percent of the survey respondents overestimated the portion of the plan premium that they pay. "While increasing costs and poor health-plan performance are important reasons for employee dissatisfaction, misinformation and inaccurate perceptions also can undermine satisfaction," says Steve Richter, a senior health-care consultant with Watson Wyatt and coauthor of the company's "Maximizing the Return on Health Benefits: 2001 Best Practices in Health Care Vendor Management Study." Indeed, among employees who are satisfied with their health plan's communications, 66% are satisfied with their health plan. For employees who are dissatisfied with their health care plan's communications, only 14% are satisfied with their health plan.

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