A new survey commissioned by Columbia S.C.-based Colonial Life & Accident
Insurance Co.
finds a pervasive sense of unease among holders of health insurance policies.

One of the primary sources of this anxiety are changes to employers’ insurance plans in the past year. The survey found 49 % of full-time employed adults who are enrolled in an insurance program provided by their employers and/or their spouses say their employers made changes to their coverage in the past year. Of these respondents, more than eight in 10 expressed concerns over rising premiums, co-pays and deductibles, and concerns over unexpected medical expenses.

"This year's troubling economy has forced employers to make some tough decisions in regard to their benefits plans," says Tom Gilligan, SVP of marketing and branding at Colonial Life. "Employees are now justifiably concerned about the effects these changes will have on their paychecks and their financial stability. They're left to deal with gaps in coverage that leave them feeling vulnerable and exposed."

While most of the changes reported concerned increased premiums, co-pays or deductibles, 13% of respondents reporting a change cited an elimination of one or more types of coverage such as life, health or disability.

"When employers make changes to their benefits plans as so many are being forced to today, it's important to clearly communicate these changes to employees," says Gilligan. "Otherwise, employees are left confused and ill-prepared to make smart benefits decisions. Never before has benefits communication been so important."

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