Employers are moving away from traditional benefit plans according to a recent Eastbridge study

AVON, CONNECTICUT, USA (July 18, 2006) – Changes in the healthcare and insurance industry have been building for many years. Employers are seeking to control their benefit costs and are shifting more decisions as well as more of the cost to employees. Employers are moving towards defined contribution benefits and towards more voluntary employee-pay-all benefits (as opposed to employer-funded benefits).

In a recent survey of voluntary insurance carriers, the respondents were convinced that employers and employees are more interested today in products that cover the deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses associated with health care than they were in the past. Eighty-five percent of those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed, up from 65 percent in 2002.

�We�re also seeing a migration from employer-paid benefits to voluntary benefits,� remarks Gil Lowerre, president of Eastbridge. �Three-fourths of the carriers surveyed say they are seeing an increase in voluntary coverages that were previously fully or partially employer paid.� Only10 percent of those surveyed did not recognize this trend.

The survey also found that 77 percent of respondents believe that employers are likely to move towards a �defined contribution� approach to employee benefits. This was up from 68 percent in 2004.

The 2006 Worksite Product Trends Frontline Report updates our 2002 and 2004 studies on the same topic. Eastbridge Insight and Information Partner Companies as well as survey participants receive the Frontline Report free of charge.

About Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc.

Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc. is a marketing advisory firm serving insurance and financial services organizations in the United States and Canada. www.eastbridge.com