The Great Recession is accelerating the shift toward employee-paid benefits programs, according to Prudential Financial Inc.
Prudential, Newark, N.J., is discussing that shift in a report based on separate surveys of plan sponsors, plan sponsors, and brokers and consultants that were conducted in April and May. Prudential also commissioned a survey of plan sponsors in 2007.
In 2007, before the full force of the downturn became evident, only 19% of the sponsors surveyed listed sharing costs with employees as an important benefits strategy; this year, 34% of sponsors are focusing on cost-sharing, Prudential says.
Similarly, the percentage of employers saying sharing health coverage costs with employees through benefits programs that incorporate health savings accounts or health reimbursement arrangements is important has increased to 34%, from 21%. About 53% of the employers expect to be using health account programs by 2015.
Prudential is seeing evidence of a similar increase in interest in voluntary benefits.