New Survey Reveals Employer Health Strategies That Are Helping Workers Improve their Health and Wellness

New Survey Reveals Employer Health Strategies That Are Helping Workers Improve
                          their Health and Wellness

Consumers Do Not Have a Realistic Picture of their Health and Associated
Costs, According to Report from Aon Hewitt, the National Business Group on
Health and The Futures Company

PR Newswire

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill., Jan. 9, 2013

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill., Jan. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Most workers know what it
takes to get and stay healthy, but they do not have accurate perceptions of
their health and their health care programs, according to a new survey from
Aon Hewitt, the National Business Group on Health and The Futures Company.
However some employer strategies—such as the use of account-based plans and
specific health and wellness programs—appear to be effective in motivating
employees to take action to better understand and improve their health. 


For the second straight year, Aon Hewitt, the global human resources solutions
business of Aon plc (NYSE: AON), the National Business Group on Health and The
Futures Company surveyed more than 2,800 employees and their dependents
covered by employer health plans to determine their perspectives, behaviors
and attitudes towards health and wellness. According to The Consumer Health
Mindset survey, an overwhelming majority of consumers (87 percent) say their
health is good, and less than one quarter (23 percent) say they are overweight
or obese. Yet, more than half (53 percent) of those consumers who report being
in good health actually report height and weight that categorize them in the
body mass index (BMI) overweight or obese categories.

"Employees want to be healthy, but many have an overly rosy perception of
their health and may not see an urgent need to take action," said Joann Hall
Swenson, health engagement leader at Aon Hewitt. "For others, the activities
and stresses of daily life take priority over good health, and many consumers
are unwilling to make sacrifices to improve their health. Employers can help
workers and their families by first arming them with the necessary tools and
resources that give them a realistic picture of their health, and then making
it easy and convenient for them to make better decisions and participate in
the right wellness programs."

Not only are employees disconnected when it comes to their personal health,
but they are equally misinformed when it comes to understanding what the
employer pays for their health care. According to a recent Aon Hewitt
analysis,[1] total health care costs per employee were $10,522 in 2012, and
employers' share of that cost was $8,318. However, when asked how much of the
bill their employer pays, TheConsumer Health Mindset survey shows consumers
significantly underestimate the portion paid by their employers, guessing
approximately half of the cost.

"These survey results underscore the challenges employers face as they seek to
engage employees and their families in health improvement as a means to better
managing rising health care costs," said Helen Darling, president and CEO of
the National Business Group on Health. "It is critical for employers to bridge
the knowledge gap evident in this survey."

Using Account-Based Health Plans to Motivate Behavior Change

An increasing number of employers offer account-based plans, commonly known as
consumer driven health plans, as a way for consumers to take more
responsibility for managing their health and related costs. According to The
Consumer Health Mindset survey findings, 78 percent of employees currently
enrolled in account-based plans are satisfied with the plans and 89 percent
expect to re-enroll in this option for 2013. For workers who have been
enrolled in an account-based plan for two or more years, almost all (97
percent) plan to re-enroll.

"Account-based 'consumer' plans continue to rise in popularity with employers,
in part, because they require workers to take a more active role in managing
their use of the health care system," said Jim Winkler, health innovation
leader at Aon Hewitt. "Armed with the right tools and resources, workers who
enroll in these types of plans can clearly see what health services cost, and
they can use this information to be better informed consumers when it comes to
choosing the care they need and spending their health care dollars. In many
cases, this enlightened perspective can lead to cost savings for both the
employer and the consumer."

The survey indicates that consumer involvement in account-based plans may
correlate to positive health behaviors. Sixty percent of employees who are
enrolled in these types of plans say they have made positive behavior changes
related to their health. Specifically, 28 percent say they receive routine
preventative care more often, 23 percent seek lower-cost health care options
and 19 percent research health costs more frequently.

Incentives Help, But May Not Always Be Necessary To Promote Health and
Wellness Programs

When asked if they would participate in a wellness program, the survey found
that up to half of consumers said they would participate with no financial
incentive as long as it is easy and convenient to participate. Sixty-three
percent of consumers say they would complete a health risk questionnaire (HRQ)
for a monetary reward, and 62 percent would participate in a healthy eating or
weight management programs. Almost half (48 percent) would participate in a
medically-sponsored program to help them manage a health condition.

To help consumers achieve their health-related goals, employers are willing to
offer incentives for actions that take more work. Over one-half (58 percent)
of employers surveyed offer some form of incentive for completing a lifestyle
modification program (for example, to quit smoking or lose weight).
Additionally, about one-quarter of organizations report offering incentives
(monetary or nonmonetary) for making progress toward meeting acceptable ranges
for biometric measures such as blood pressure, BMI, blood sugar and

According to The Consumer Health Mindset survey findings, HRQs are also a
valuable way to help consumers get an accurate picture of their overall health
and receive targeted feedback to help them improve their well being. Of the
workers who were offered an HRQ and received suggested action steps based on
their results, four out of five (86 percent) took some action. Further, nearly
two-thirds (65 percent) reported that they made at least one lifestyle
improvement as a result.

"Consumers are looking for solutions that address their specific health needs
and concerns," said Christine Baskin, senior vice president at The Futures
Company. "Tailored, targeted feedback such as that given in the HRQ process,
along with understanding individual consumer's attitudes towards health, are
essential ingredients to having employees take actions to improve their health
and their lifestyle."

About Aon Hewitt
Aon Hewitt is the global leader in human resource solutions. The company
partners with organizations to solve their most complex benefits, talent and
related financial challenges, and improve business performance. Aon Hewitt
designs, implements, communicates and administers a wide range of human
capital, retirement, investment management, health care, compensation and
talent management strategies. With more than 29,000 professionals in 90
countries, Aon Hewitt makes the world a better place to work for clients and
their employees. For more information on Aon Hewitt, please visit

About Aon
Aon plc (NYSE: AON) is the leading global provider of risk management,
insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human resources solutions and
outsourcing services. Through its more than 61,000 colleagues worldwide, Aon
unites to empower results for clients in over 120 countries via innovative and
effective risk and people solutions and through industry-leading global
resources and technical expertise. Aon has been named repeatedly as the
world's best broker, best insurance intermediary, reinsurance intermediary,
captives manager and best employee benefits consulting firm by multiple
industry sources. Visit for more information on Aon and to learn about Aon's global partnership and shirt
sponsorship with Manchester United.

About The Futures Company
The Futures Company is the leading global strategic insight and innovation
consultancy. Unparalleled global expertise in foresight and futures enables
The Futures Company to unlock new sources of growth through a range of
subscription services and research and consulting solutions.The Futures
Company was formed in 2008 from the coming together of The Henley Centre,
HeadlightVision and Yankelovich.The Futures Company is a Kantarcompany
within WPP with teams in North America, Europe, and Latin America. For more
information on The Futures Company and LIVING Well, please visit

About the National Business Group on Health
The National Business Group on Health (the Business Group) is the nation's
only non-profit organization devoted exclusively to representing large
employers' perspective on national health policy issues and providing
practical solutions to its members' most important health care and health
benefits challenges. Business Group members are primarily Fortune 500
companies and large public-sector employers–representing the nation's most
innovative health care purchasers–that provide health coverage for more than
50 million U.S. workers, retirees and their families.The Business Group
fosters the development of a safe, high-quality health care delivery system
and treatments based on scientific evidence of effectiveness. Business Group
members share strategies for controlling health care costs, improving patient
safety and quality of care, increasing productivity and supporting healthy
lifestyles. For more information, visit


For Aon Hewitt:
Amy Ochalski;; 847-771-4225
MacKenzie Lucas;; 847-442-2995

For The Futures Company:
Emily Parenti;; 919-932-8626

For National Business Group on Health:
Ed Emerman;; 609-275-5162

[1] Aon Hewitt 2012 Health Care Survey

SOURCE Aon plc

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