Employee healthcare plans are dropping dead fast

Vanessa Richardson

It's going to be a while before (and if) the Obama Administration can put its healthcare-for-all plan in place, but I wonder if any employers will still be offering healthcare plans by that time.

A new survey out this month by workforce research firm Hewitt Associates found that 19% of the 343 employers it asked are planning to stop offering health benefits over the next three to five years. That's a fourfold jump from just last year, when only 4% were planning an exit strategy. (Thanks, Workforce.com)

For those who still offer health benefits for the employees they don't lay off, keeping workers healthy is the major workforce issue this year, up from #2 on the list in 2008. Actually the term they used is "promoting employee accountability" and the specific health conditions they're going to be on the lookout for in their workforce are asthma, cardiovascular disease, depression and diabetes. So don't expect free doughnuts on Friday even when the economy bounces back, but maybe they'll keep the mental-health counselor on staff?