Large Gaps In Health Perceptions V. Reality
Anew survey from
More than 2,800 employees and their dependents covered by employer-sponsored health plans were surveyed about their thoughts, attitudes and behaviors toward health and wellness.
Eighty-seven percent of respondents reported being in good health, yet more than half of those (53%) gave height and weight combinations that categorize them as having a body mass index in the overweight or obese categories. Only 23% of all respondents believe they are actually overweight or obese, when in reality that number is 34%.
"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," says
She says employers need to offer workers and their families "the necessary tools and resources that give them a realistic picture of their health," then follow up by encouraging healthy decision-making.
Incorrect cost perceptions
Consumers' incorrect perceptions extend to cost, the survey finds. Total health care costs per employee were
"These survey results," says
It seems one way to do that is by offering a consumer-driven health plan, the survey reveals, as 60% of those in a CDHP say they have made positive behavior changes in regard to their health, including more preventive care (28%), seeking lower-cost options (23%) and more frequent research of health costs (19%).
In addition, 63% of respondents say they would complete a health risk questionnaire for a monetary reward, and just under that would engage in a healthy eating or weight management program.
"Consumers are looking for solutions that address their specific health needs and concerns," says
Satisfied with benefits
A separate survey, meanwhile, suggests that should the U.S. tax health benefits, workers will look elsewhere. More than half of U.S. workers would either drop coverage or shop around for a less costly plan should the government tax health benefits, according to research from the
Health coverage most important benefit
Many employers are uncertain whether and how they'll be able to offer health coverage as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act rolls into effect, but the most recent HCS finds that health insurance remains by far the most important employee benefit to workers.
"Most Americans are satisfied with the health benefits they have now and prefer not to change the mix of benefits and wages," says
Some 38% of those surveyed would prefer to continue getting coverage as they do today. One-third (34%) prefer to choose their insurance plan, have their employer give them the money that was being spent on their behalf and then pay the rest themselves; 23% would prefer that their company give them the money and allow them to decide whether to purchase coverage and how much to spend.
Most workers expressed confidence that their employers or unions have chosen the best health plan available, though many would like more choices. Respondents were not as confident, however, about choosing the best available plan if unions or employers did indeed cease offering coverage.
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