Health Care Reform is Prompting Changes in Employee Benefits

Insurers and Employers Are Taking Action in the Wake of Pending Regulations

NEWARK, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- As brokers and employers get ready to meet the benefits challenges posed by health care reform, many American workers have concerns about how the reforms will affect their worksite benefits. According to Health Care Reform: The Waiting Is Over, the third in a series of research briefs based on The Prudential Insurance Company of America's (Prudential's) Seventh Annual Study of Employee Benefits:Today & Beyond, nearly half (46%) of employees believe it is likely that the cost of health insurance will increase overall and nearly a third (31%) say it's likely that fewer employers will offer health insurance coverage.


Brokers and employers both anticipate consequences from health care reform, with brokers expecting a larger impact. Both groups agree that benefits funding will be most affected. Among their top concerns, brokers expect the number of employee benefits offered (80%) and benefit communications (78%) to be highly impacted, while employers note benefits service and support (56%), as well as number of benefits offered (55%) as their top concerns.

Seventy-two percent of brokers say that "expertise and thought leadership on health care reform" from insurers is either critical or very helpful.

"Brokers tell us that helping clients navigate heath care reform and lowering clients' benefits costs are their most critical priorities," says Vishal Jain, vice president, Strategy and Planning for Prudential Group Insurance. "They are looking to us, the carriers, to provide the marketing, education, and communications that will help employers to continue to deliver strong benefit offerings."

Mid-size employers (500 to 9,999 employees) anticipate a greater impact on all aspects of employee benefits compared to small or large companies. Sixty-eight percent say that health care reform will have a significant impact on employee benefits funding, and 61% say it will have a significant impact on employee benefits communications. Large companies (10,000+ employees) were less likely to say that the number of employee benefits offered will be impacted.

Twenty-nine percent of employers say they are at least "somewhat likely" to cease providing health care benefits to their employees. Those companies who say they are leaders in health care reform adoption are most likely to say they are not considering scaling back on benefits offerings.

"Our survey has given us insights into the concerns of employers and brokers alike as the employee benefits landscape undergoes significant changes," notes Jain. "As a carrier, our role is to help both groups meet the challenges ahead by providing consultative expertise, as well as access to an array of voluntary benefits and services, to help employers continue to offer benefit programs that attract and retain employees, even as they potentially implement significant changes to healthcare benefits."

Health Care Reform: The Waiting Is Over is the third in a series of five research briefs that highlight the major findings from Prudential's Seventh Annual Study of Employee Benefits: Today & Beyond. The research was conducted via the Internet during July 2012, and consisted of three distinct surveys of plan sponsors, plan participants, and broker/consultant audiences.

Prudential Group Insurance manufactures and distributes a full range of group life, long-term and short-term disability and corporate and trust-owned life insurance in the U.S to institutional clients primarily for us in connection with employee and membership benefits plans. The business also sells accidental death and dismemberment, and other ancillary coverages and provides plan administrative services in connection with its insurance coverages.

Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYS: 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 07102.

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

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