Monday, June 30, 2008


IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations
-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
Cornell University
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor
---------------------- Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016
-------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

AARP Policy & Research

Condition Critical: A Survey of Washington Businesses about the Future of Employee Health Care Benefits
Research Report
Jennifer H. Sauer, M.A., AARP Knowledge Management
June 2008
[full-text, 29 pages]

An AARP telephone survey of employers in Washington State in March and April 2008 indicates that Washington employers have experienced substantial increases in employee health insurance premiums over the past 3 years, and most of the respondents anticipate that it will be challenging to provide such coverage over the next 3 years.

The survey findings indicate that:

   * The cost of single-coverage employee health insurance has increased overall in the past 3 years by about 32 percent, and among smaller companies, the cost has nearly doubled.

   * If current cost trends continue, most Washington employers are likely to maintain an employee health insurance plan but will consider passing the cost burden on to employees, particularly through higher premiums.

   * The employers indicated a limit of what they can afford before dropping employee health coverage altogether¬≠27 percent of the respondents said they would stop providing it if the cost increased by 15 percent; 40 percent would stop if the costs increased by 25 percent.

   * Many respondents indicated that the rising cost of employee health coverage has reduced profits and raised consumer prices; however, many also view the health benefit as having a major positive impact on factors such as employee recruitment and retention, employee health, and the overall success of their business.

   * Among employers who currently do not offer employee health coverage, one-third have done so in the past. Nearly half offered a plan up until just 3 years ago. At least half of these employers said their major reasons for no health plan include the company cannot afford it, their revenues are uncertain, and employees cannot afford it.

AARP commissioned Woelfel Research, Inc., to conduct the interviews with businesses drawn at random from the population of Washington State businesses. Government offices were excluded. A total of 407 businesses participated. For more information, contact Jennifer H. Sauer at 202-434-6207. (25 pages)
This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

Stuart Basefsky                   
Director, IWS News Bureau                
Institute for Workplace Studies 
Cornell/ILR School                        
16 E. 34th Street, 4th Floor             
New York, NY 10016                        
Telephone: (607) 255-2703                
Fax: (607) 255-9641                       

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