NEW YORK, April 7 (UPI) -- U.S. employers indicate confidence in their ability to provide healthcare benefits in the future has dropped, the consulting firm Watson Wyatt said.
In a recent survey, the firm said 62 percent of employers felt strongly they would have healthcare benefits available for employees 10 years down the road. But, the number is 11 percentage points lower than a year ago, USA Today said Tuesday.
Fidelity Investments' Consulting Services reported almost half of U.S. employees surveyed indicated health insurance, retirement programs and pension plans would not be offered by employers 10 years from now.
With healthcare costs escalating up to 7 percent a year, "if you put that in the context of a difficult economy, most companies aren't prepared to shoulder all of that burden," Tim Billet at Watson Wyatt said.
Perks from free trips to subsidize tuition also are feeling the economic pressure.
"Traditional pensions in the private sector are on their way out," said Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
Consulting firm Hewitt Associates said 40 percent of employers plan to alter their severance plans. Of those 40 percent, 43 percent are aiming to reduce cash awards, the newspaper said.