IBI research finds CFOs still see value in employer-offered healthcare coverage

by: Nichole Gunn May 1, 2012

New research from Integrated Benefits Institute, a nonprofit organization that provides employers and supply partners with valuable resources related to health, found chief financial officers by and large see value in providing medical coverage to employees.

With the Affordable Care Act altering how healthcare is administered, the report found that CFOs still place a high level of importance on providing employee medical coverage as it can have a positive impact on employee satisfaction, productivity and morale.

The ACA, signed into law by President Barack Obama after he took office and planned to go into effect by 2014, was the topic of arguments over its constitutionality and heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has yet to rule on it. However, employers across the country will have a decision to make regarding whether or not to drop coverage and push their employees, in bulk, toward individual insurance providers.

"These concerns indicate that CFOs see medical coverage as a competitive necessity in managing human capital, rather than simply a cost to be minimized," said Thomas Parry, president of IBI. "While there is widespread speculation among employers, insurers, benefits professionals and corporate leadership as to how organizations will respond as this historic legislation is rolled out, it's apparent that the C-suite sees the importance of medical coverage not only as a means to maintain a skilled workforce but also as a tool to be leveraged in improving employee health and productivity."

As part of research into the mindset of CFOs everywhere regarding healthcare, IBI found that many still place a high value on providing medical coverage as a result of the satisfaction it offers employees as well as the opportunity to promote healthy behavior in the workplace and manage medical treatment to improve productivity in the workplace.

Companies that offer healthcare options to their employees can also use their plans to integrate employee incentive programs and initiatives to foster participation. Because obese and cigarette-smoking employees can raise overall healthcare costs, providing incentives and benefits to those who adopt healthy lifestyle choices can work to lower the bottom line of healthcare costs in the company.

"As noble as it is to celebrate employee health and fitness in the month of May, it makes better fiscal sense to implement a sustainable, long-term wellness program that can, over the long run, reduce company health costs, and increase employee productivity and morale," said Healthyroads CEO and chairman George DeVries.