Employers Redefining Employee Costs for Spousal Health Care Coverage

ARLINGTON, Va., March 09, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to a survey of U.S. employers by Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) more than half (56%) of employers have increased employee contributions to health care coverage for spouses, with another 25% planning to do so by 2018. Additionally, use of spousal surcharges when other employer-provided coverage is available is expected to more than double by 2018, from 27% to 56%. The average spousal surcharge across all employers surveyed is $1,200 per year.

The results of the 20th annual 2015 Willis Towers Watson/National Business Group on Health (NBGH) Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey show that employers are redefining their financial commitment to health care for employees’ spouses. The survey also found that a small number (3%) of employers don’t offer or have eliminated subsidies altogether for spousal coverage, with another 10% planning to by 2018.

“Given the high cost of health care, companies no longer want their plans to be spouse magnets, which may incur thousands of dollars a year in additional health care expenses when spouses have access to coverage through their own employers,” said Randall Abbott, senior health and benefit strategist, Willis Towers Watson. “Assessing the actual costs for spouses and determining how to best manage them can help create more efficient health care plans and avoid or reduce additional across-the-board increases in employee contributions.”

While not as prevalent, a similar trend has emerged in health care coverage for employees’ children. Just under half (46%) of employers have increased employee contributions for children’s health care benefits more than for employee-only coverage, with another 15% planning to by 2018.

Survey results show total health care costs (employer and employee) reached $12,041 per employee per year (PEPY) in 2015 and are expected to rise nearly 5% to $12,643 PEPY in 2016.

Redefining the financial commitment to spousal health care

Which specific actions/programs does your organization have in place or plan to have for employee and dependent health care contributions, premiums and enrollment?

An infographic accompanying this release is available at: http://resource.globenewswire.com/Resource/Download/1b12f545-5c24-4666-b101-0e01923b3c34?size=o.

About the survey

The 20th annual Willis Towers Watson/NBGH Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey tracks employers’ best practices and the results of their efforts to provide and manage health benefits for their workforce. The report identifies the actions of high-performing companies as well as current trends in the health care benefit programs of U.S. employers with at least 1,000 employees. The survey was completed by 487 employers in June and July 2015. Respondents collectively employ 15.1 million full-time employees, have 12.0 million employees enrolled in their health care programs and represent all major industry sectors.

About Willis Towers Watson

Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ:WLTW) is a leading global advisory, broking and solutions company that helps clients around the world turn risk into a path for growth. With roots dating to 1828, Willis Towers Watson has 39,000 employees in more than 120 countries. We design and deliver solutions that manage risk, optimize benefits, cultivate talent, and expand the power of capital to protect and strengthen institutions and individuals. Our unique perspective allows us to see the critical intersections between talent, assets and ideas — the dynamic formula that drives business performance. Together, we unlock potential. Learn more at willistowerswatson.com.

Media contact Rob Wyse: +1 212 920 1470 rob@capital-content.com

Source:Willis Towers Watson Public Limited Company