Towers Perrin says the study shows a disconnect between employees and their employers as companies ask their workforces to spend more out of their own pockets on health care. Only 28 percent of employees, from over 1,000 employees surveyed, "feel that it would be appropriate for employers to ask them to help absorb costs," according to the study of midsize and large U.S. companies.
Almost all U.S. employers have asked employees to pick up more of the cost of health care over the last several years. But Jim Foreman, managing director of health and welfare for Towers Perrin’s human resources services business, says that employers aren’t doing a good job of communicating to employees.
"Employees understand that health care costs are a problem," Foreman says, "and they’re open to behavior changes that could reduce costs both for them and for their employers, but they’re not motivated to change just to save the company money. Employers need to recognize that health care is primarily an emotional issue for employees, not a cost issue. For consumerism to be fully effective, employees need to believe it’s in their self-interest."