Surveys Reveal Disconnect Between Retirees and Employers Over Retiree Medical Benefits

December 16, 2015

Two Towers Watson surveys reveal a notable disconnect between what retirees believe they were told by their employers about their retirement medical benefits when they retired and what employers say they offered retirees in education and information.

In March 2015, Towers Watson surveyed 3,384 retirees aged 65 and older who formerly worked at large and midsize employers. Previously, in September 2014, Towers Watson surveyed 144 HR executives at large and midsize employers that sponsor retiree medical benefits. The retiree survey showed that 43% said their employers took no steps at all to help them understand and manage the cost of retiree medical benefits before they retired; the employer survey showed that just 9% of employers acknowledged they offered no help.

Other issues that retirees claimed employers did not discuss with them included the reality of out-of-pocket costs, and financial planning resources and decision support tools that would be available to them.

According to John Barkett, a director for Towers Watson’s Individual Exchange line of business, the disconnect points to the need for employers to redouble their efforts to make sure retirees have crucial information that could affect their financial health in retirement.

“It’s evident that employers can do a better job of educating employees about retiree medical costs and benefit options as well as explaining more clearly the support retirees can expect with benefits after they’ve stopped working,” said Barkett.

For the full press release, click here.

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