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The Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM Executive Summary On Wellness - Fourth Quarter 2005

Summary of Survey Wellness Findings

Making Wellness Work
Employees are taking advantage of employer wellness programs as they continue to evolve.  Among those offered these programs, there is high participation in blood pressure checks (81%), cholesterol screenings (73%) and by taking online health screenings (72%).

  • More than three-fourths (82%) of those who are offered health education tools utilize them, and two-thirds (68%) of those whose employers offer wellness seminars attend them. 
  • Usage of employer-sponsored weight management discounts (36%) showed an increase from the previous survey.

Benefits of Wellness Benefits
Employers have implemented wellness benefits as a method for boosting employee health and to help curb the ever-rising healthcare expenses. Over half of the employees (57%) in firms of 10-1000 believe wellness benefits are successful in reducing healthcare costs. 

  • Employees feel their own families benefit the most financially (55%), followed by employers (18%) and insurance providers (14%). 
  • Overall, 47 percent say wellness benefits encourage them to work harder and perform better, and 48 percent say having a wellness program offered by their employer encourages them to stay in their current employment situation. 

Benefit Importance

  • Consistently, employees rank health insurance as the most important benefit (90% rating it an 8,9 or 10 on a 10 point scale) when asked to rate a group of benefits in terms of how important it was to them on a 10-point scale.
  • At the same time, employees were asked to identify what benefits (among those offered by their employer) they would like to have improved upon and the top benefit mentioned was Health Insurance (45%).

Motivators for Plan Choices
Employees said access to health care providers is the most important factor in choosing a health plan, even more important than cost.  Of the 42 percent of workers who have more than one health care plan to choose from, 31 percent cited the care network (doctors and facilities available in the plan) as the most motivational factor in their decision.  Monthly paycheck deduction or employee cost was selected by 21 percent of employees as the most motivational factor. 

“What motivates your decision on which plan to choose?  Please rank your top 3 responses with “1” being the most motivational.”
Base: N = 497(Respondents who have more than one health plan option to choose from)

 

% Ranked #1

Care network (doctors and facilities available within the plan)

31%

Monthly paycheck deduction

21%

Benefit limitations and/or exclusions

13%

Deductible/s

12%

Physician office visit co-pay

10%

Estimated health care need for coming year

5%

Emergency visit co-pay

3%

What my colleagues are choosing

2%

None of these, I just “pick one”

3%

Wellness Program Success
“How successful do you believe wellness benefits offered by your employer can be in reducing healthcare costs?”
Base: N = 1,213

Very Successful

Somewhat Successful

Neither

Somewhat Unsuccessful

Very Unsuccessful

15%

42%

27%

9%

7%

Benefits From Wellness Benefits

“In your opinion, who benefits most financially from the reduced healthcare costs associated with wellness benefit programs? Please rank list in order with “1” receiving the highest financial benefit and “6” receiving the lowest financial benefit.”
Base: N = 1,213

 

% Ranked #1

Average Ranking

My Family and Me

55%

2.2

My Employer

18%

2.6

My Insurance Provider

14%

3.0

Society

5%

4.2

Health Care Providers

4%

4.1

Government

4%

4.8

Health Coverage Changes
“Over the past 12 months, has your employer made any of the following changes in your health care coverage?”
Base: N = 1,076

 

4 Qtr 2005

Increased employee co-pays

37%

Increased employee deductibles

31%

Reduced medical benefit coverage options

16%

Offered additional medical benefit coverage options

7%

Moved to HRA or MSA plans

4%

Eliminated employer-sponsored health care benefits

1%

Eliminated retiree health care benefits

1%

None of these changes have occurred

47%

Wellness Benefits
“Which of the following wellness benefits does your employer currently offer?”

Wellness Benefits

Overall 2005

2005 Employer Firm Size

10 to 500 Employees

501 to 1,000 Employees

Educational Tools or Resources

16%

13%

30%

Fitness Center Discounts

12%

9%

25%

Educational Wellness Seminars

11%

9%

21%

Fitness Facilities

11%

8%

27%

Smoking Cessation Programs

10%

8%

21%

Blood Pressure Checks

9%

8%

16%

On-Site Health Screenings

8%

6%

19%

Weight Management Programs

8%

6%

17%

Cholesterol Screening

7%

6%

11%

Access to Experts (Nutritionists, etc)

7%

5%

16%

Blood Sugar Screening

6%

4%

12%

Intervention Programs

5%

3%

12%

Maternity Management

5%

3%

10%

Weight Mgmt Program Discounts

5%

4%

10%

Consultant Review of Health Screen

4%

3%

10%

Personalized Action Plan for High Risk Conditions

3%

2%

10%

Online Health Screenings

3%

2%

4%

Fitness Equipment Discounts

3%

3%

7%

 

N = 1,213

N = 1,009

N = 204

 Usage of Wellness Benefits
“How often do you use each of the following wellness benefits offered by your employer?”
Base: Varies by benefit (N = respondents offered this benefit)

Wellness Benefits

N

Have Used 2005

2005 Use Frequency

Weekly

Monthly

Yearly

Education Tools/Resources

203

82%

11%

54%

17%

Blood Pressure Checks

128

81%

14%

29%

38%

Cholesterol Screening

95

73%

2%

8%

63%

Consultant Review of Health Screen

41

72%

5%

16%

51%

Online Health Screenings

28

72%

26%

18%

28%

Blood Sugar Screening

71

70%

3%

6%

61%

On-Site Health Screenings

109

68%

-

8%

60%

Education Wellness Seminars

135

68%

3%

28%

38%

Personalized Action Plan for High Risk Conditions

38

45%

6%

16%

23%

Access to Experts

75

42%

7%

15%

20%

Fitness Equipment Discounts

34

40%

7%

17%

16%

Fitness Facilities

151

38%

19%

14%

5%

Intervention Programs

65

37%

6%

14%

18%

Weight Mgmt Program Discounts

63

36%

17%

7%

12%

Weight Mgmt Programs

89

33%

7%

7%

19%

Fitness Center Discounts

151

32%

8%

10%

14%

Smoking Cessation Programs

119

16%

2%

5%

8%

Maternity Management

46

15%

2%

6%

7%

Wellness Benefits Desired
“Below are the wellness benefits you indicated your employer does not offer. Which of the following are the top three benefits that you would like to see your employer offer?”
Base: = 1,213

Wellness Benefits

Top Wellness Benefits Desired

Fitness Facilities

27%

Fitness Center Discounts

23%

Weight Management Programs

17%

On-Site Health Screenings

15%

Cholesterol Screening

13%

Blood Pressure Checks

13%

Access to Experts (Nutritionists, etc)

12%

Fitness Equipment Discounts

10%

Weight Management Program Discounts

9%

Educational Wellness Seminars

9%

Smoking Cessation Programs

7%

Personalized Action Plan for High Risk Conditions

7%

Blood Sugar Screening

6%

Educational Tools or Resources

5%

Consultant Review of Health Screening

5%

Maternity Management

5%

Intervention Programs

4%

Online Health Screenings

4%

None of these

26%

Table 26 – Encourage to Participate
“Of the items listed below, which three would encourage you to participate in a wellness benefit program?”
Base: N = 1,213

 

4 Q 2005

Better overall physical health

55%

Reduced personal health care costs

42%

Greater chance of living a longer, healthier life

40%

Receive an incentive or reward to participate

33%

Employer provides opportunity to participate

31%

More positive mental outlook

18%

Recommendation by doctor or health care provider

16%

Reduce impact of current condition or illness

16%

 Encouragement from friends or family

8%

Encouragement from employer

5%

Advertisement

<1%

None of these

7%

Encourage to Participate by Age Group
When respondents are reviewed by age group, there are some differences in what would encourage them to participate in a wellness program.

  • The respondents under age 45 are significantly more likely to be encouraged to participate in wellness benefit programs if they receive an incentive or reward to participate.
  • The respondents age 45 and over are significantly more likely to be encouraged to participate if it provides a greater chance of living a longer, healthier life. 

“Of the items listed below, which three would encourage you to participate in a wellness benefit program?

Age Groups

18-34

35-44

45-54

55+

Better overall physical health

53%

53%

59%

52%

Reduced personal health care costs

42%

41%

43%

43%

Receive an incentive or reward to participate

37%

38%

26%

29%

Greater chance of living a longer, healthier life

33%

37%

44%

50%

Employer provides opportunity to participate

32%

30%

36%

22%

More positive mental outlook

18%

13%

22%

18%

Recommendation by doctor or health care provider

16%

14%

14%

22%

Reduce impact of current condition or illness

13%

18%

15%

20%

Encouragement from friends or family

7%

10%

9%

7%

Encouragement from employer

6%

5%

4%

4%

Advertisements

<1%

1%

<1%

<1%

None of these

8%

5%

6%

9%

 

N = 392

N = 315

N = 324

N = 182

Average Cost of Doctor’s Office Visit
“How much (on average) would you estimate an average doctor’s office visit costs someone without any insurance?”
Base: N = 1,213

 

4 Q 2005

Less than $40

3%

$40 to $64

11%

$65 to $84

24%

$85 to $109

25%

$110 to $134

15%

$135 to $150

9%

More than $150

12%

Methodology
The Principal Financial Group, the nation’s 401(k) leader, commissioned Harris Interactive® to conduct an online study of 1,213  full- and part-time employees (ages 18+) of small and mid-sized U.S. businesses (firm size 10 – 1,000) between November 7-17, 2005, about their attitudes and perceptions regarding their financial well being and their current employee benefits. Data were weighted to be representative of the entire population of adult employees working for small to mid-sized U.S. businesses on the basis of age by gender, education, race/ethnicity, region income and propensity to be online.  In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95% certainty that the results have a sampling error of ± 3 percentage points for the overall sample.  Sampling error for the various sub-samples is higher and varies.  This online sample was not a probability sample. This is one in a series of quarterly studies to identify and track changes in the workplace of small and mid-sized (growing) businesses. The first Principal Financial Well-Being IndexSM survey was conducted in the United States in 2000.

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