Aflac | Workforces Report | 2013 - page 5

Companies are at a crossroads, faced with adapting to
one of the biggest shifts in the benefits landscape in our
nation’s history. Ironically, traditional employer-sponsored
health coverage emerged during World War II in response
to several market dynamics – a tight labor market due to
decreased supply of workers during the war; wage and
price controls prevented employers from raising wages
enough to attract workers; and employer-sponsored
health care coverage surfaced as a way to attract workers
beyond pay.
Fast forward to 2013 and we are amidst strikingly similar mar-
ket conditions, yet the long-held building blocks of employ-
er-sponsored health care coverage are being shaved down or
removed altogether – leaving a potentially unsteady environ-
ment for business leaders and workers alike.
Seismic shifts in the way health insurance is provided and
paid for, the continuing rise of health care costs, the move-
ment away from HMO and PPO plans toward consum-
er-driven options, and now history-making legislative re-
form, have left businesses with an array of health insurance
benefits delivery models to choose from. Yet, nearly all of
them place more financial responsibility, decision-making
and control in the hands of consumers.
The degree to which companies stay involved in key aspects
of benefits delivery will produce results or ramifications.
Will companies choose to let workers drive their benefits
decisions without offering driving lessons or a map to guide
them in the right direction? Disengaging from benefits deliv-
ery and support will have serious consequences, much like
handing over the keys to a student who’s never driven a car.
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