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March 19, 2009

Benefits survey: At a glance

In the recently completed employee benefits survey, the following results summarize respondents’ opinions on the importance of each benefit listed; the satisfaction with each benefit, and the perception of customer service offered by vendors of each benefit.

According to John Kozar, Pitt director of Benefits, data for each of the three sections were derived from the respondents who actually have used the benefit or service; those who indicated that they have never used a certain benefit were not counted in the data compiled for that benefit.


The overwhelming majority of respondents felt that benefits either are important or very important. Results for the key benefits are as follows:

Medical: 99% Very important or important

Dental: 95% Very important or important

Vision: 92% Very important or important

Flexible spending accounts: 74% Very important or important

Retirement savings program: 99% Very important or important

Satisfaction with each benefit

Medical: 98% Very to somewhat satisfied; 2% Not at all

Dental: 89% Very to somewhat satisfied; 11% Not at all

Vision: 92% Very to somewhat satisfied; 8% Not at all

Flexible spending accounts: 96% Very to somewhat satisfied; 4% Not at all

Retirement savings: 99% Very to somewhat satisfied; 1% Not at all

Perception of customer service

UPMC Health Plan: 96% Good/very good/excellent; 4% Poor

United Concordia: 94% Good/very good/excellent; 6% Poor

Davis Vision: 88% Good/very good/excellent; 12% Poor

EBDS (flexible spending accounts): 90% Good/very good/excellent; 10% Poor

TIAA-CREF: 97% Good/very good/excellent; 3% Poor

Vanguard: 98% Good/very good/excellent; 2% Poor

MetLife (FMLA): 73% Good/very good/excellent; 27% Poor

Kozar noted that the relatively high customer dissatisfaction with MetLife, which manages the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, was an issue HR had been addressing long before the survey was undertaken. “It’s been a work in progress,” he said. “We know there are challenges to administering this benefit, but part of the problem is that this is a very confusing benefit. Not all of it is MetLife’s fault.”

Under previous federal legislation, FMLA was designed to address leaves of absence of 30 days or more; now the federal requirement governs leaves of more than three days. “If you suddenly get the flu and you’re out for five days, by the time you get the paperwork to fill out and have your doctor fill out, you may already be back to work,” Kozar said.

“We had a MetLife representative come in — in fact, a vice president — to hear what our members were saying. We brought in a focus group of those who have used the service, so MetLife could hear their complaints. This survey at least provides data to bolster the case” that there is too much red tape and too slow a response time, he said.

—Peter Hart

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