Health vs. Wealth: Are Employees Making the Right Benefits Choices?

  Health vs. Wealth: Are Employees Making the Right Benefits Choices?

  Benefits experts highlight challenges and choices facing employees during
                          benefits enrollment season

Business Wire

NEWARK, N.J. -- November 19, 2012

Leading benefits experts outlined the challenges and choices employees are
facing when it comes to making benefits decisions during the annual benefits
enrollment season at a briefing in New York today. Experts from Prudential
Group Insurance, the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the American
Benefits Council shared research and perspective on an increasing shift of
benefits costs and decision making to employees who have to decide between
benefits that impact health or wealth.

“The rising cost of health care is leading companies to shift more cost to
employees, as well as to offer employees a robust menu of voluntary benefits
to address key financial risks,” said Stephen Pelletier, president of
Prudential Group Insurance, who spoke at the event. “When it comes to making
these decisions companies are providing more information and decision tools
than ever to help employees make choices that meet both their shorter-term
health and longer-term wealth protection needs.”

Benefits experts at the event, including Dallas Salisbury, president of the
Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI); James Klein, president of the
American Benefits Council; and James Gemus, senior vice president of Group
Life and Voluntary Benefits, Prudential Group Insurance, highlighted the need
for consumers to take a balanced approach to choosing benefits to ensure they
and their families are protected from the risk of premature death, disability
and prolonged illness, all of which can have a devastating effect on a
family’s financial health.

“Employee benefits are highly valued and provide flexibility to meet the needs
of workers,” said EBRI’s Salisbury. “While health care is the priority for
most workers the importance of education and increased understanding of the
role and importance of the range of benefits offered cannot be understated.”

Reflecting the shift in benefits decisions to individuals, the panelists noted
that voluntary benefits and products are becoming increasingly important to
employees, a point highlighted in two Prudential white papers, “Optimizing
Employee Benefits in the Post-Health Care Reform Environment,” and “Voluntary
Benefits: A Critical Tool for Improving Employees’ Financial Wellness,” shared
at the event.

“Health care reform has the potential to apply added pressure to leading
employers as they manage finite budgets for benefits cost and compete for top
talent,” noted James Klein of the American Benefits Council. “Employers are
working hard to maintain the benefits which they believe are critical to
attracting and retaining the best talent and to help employees make the best
choices that protect them and their families.”

Drawing upon the findings from the “Optimizing Employee Benefits” white paper,
Prudential’s Gemus noted the accelerated pace of change in the benefits space
including the adoption of wellness programs, and the shift in cost and
decision making to employees.

“Given the importance of these decisions and the risk that health care crowds
out other important benefits choices, we have developed a new benefits needs
estimator that is helping employees better understand the coverage they will
need,” said Gemus. “We also believe that it is important for more companies to
move to year round benefits selection and separate health care from other
benefits choices to ensure that employees have the time to make the most
informed choices that will ultimately support their overall financial
wellness.”

Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader, has
operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s
diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and
institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of
products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related
services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s
iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation
for more than a century. For more information, please visit
http://www.news.prudential.com/.

Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are service marks of
Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registered in many
jurisdictions worldwide.

Group coverages issued by The Prudential Insurance Company of America, 751
Broad Street, Newark, NJ.

0234880-00001-00

Contact:

Prudential Financial, Inc.
Sheila Bridgeforth, 973-802-6852
sheila.bridgeforth@prudential.com
 
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