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Most workers would trade some pension for added health benefits.

A telephone survey of 1,000 American workers conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute this spring found concern over health benefits was on the rise. Sixty-five percent of those polled said they would be willing to accept a reduction in employer contributions to a pension plan in exchange for increased health benefits. A similar survey conducted in 1991 found 60% of the workers polled willing to accept such an exchange.

Sixty-eight percent of the workers surveyed cited health benefits as the employee benefit they would choose if they could have only one (64% made this choice in 1991). Pension plans were a distant second, mentioned by 11%, while paid vacations and sick leave were the choice of 9% of the workers surveyed. In 1991, pension plans were the first choice of 14% of those polled and paid vacations and sick leave were mentioned by 8% of the respondents.

Workers covered by an employer-sponsored health plan (68% of those polled) said they would require a median payment of $5,000 annually from their employers to give up their health insurance. In 1991, the median annual amount was $4,000.

A. Wayne Brown, a partner of the CPA firm of Neff & Co., Albuquerque, New Mexico, found the survey "right on target." He said, "Health care is the number-one concern of a growing number of workers and the survey reflects that."

W. Mark Jackson, a partner of the New York office of Deloitte & Touche, agreed. He thought the debate on health care reform heightened concern over the adequacy of employer-provided benefits. He said, "I think health benefits will be the top concern of American workers until Congress acts."
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Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Previous Article:AICPA chairman testifies before Senate subcommittee.
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