Expect aging employed population

December 4, 2008

A Mercer survey of benefits programs in 48 countries shows that there are global concerns about retirement and the cost of healthcare. The concept of retirement is changing so that more workers will be forced to postpone it and be covered longer by employer-sponsored plans.

Multinational employers may operate in diverse economies around the world, but they face common human resource challenges-chief among them the changing concept of retirement and the continuing rise in the cost of healthcare, according to a new Mercer survey of benefit programs in 48 countries.

The concept of retirement is changing and many workers will be forced to postpone full retirement, according to Linda Havlin, Mercer worldwide partner.

“The implications for managed care executives are that people will stay employed longer and thus be covered longer by employer-sponsored plans,” she says. “Most of them will have access to plans that include incentives for preventive care services and participating in health management programs. A plus is that we will have fewer pre-65 retirees who may be uninsured.”

The employers will bear the increased cost of employing an older workforce since average cost increases with age, Havlin points out. “Thus, employers will put even more pressure on health plans to control overall cost and help these older workers be healthy and productive.”

Continuing to invest in delivery improvements such as electronic medical records, integrated disability management and intensive outpatient or medical home approaches will be important for meeting the needs of an aging employed population and for differentiating one plan from another, according to Havlin.