According to the executive summary of a 2011 Mercer Workplace Survey, (pdf) employees continue to place a high value on employer-provided benefits, and are willing to pay more in premiums to keep their health insurance. The survey, which collected responses from 1,507 401(k) participants between June 16 and July 1, 2011, found that 79% of surveyed employees claim that their benefits are one of the reasons they work where they do, and 91% responded that receiving employer-provided health benefits is just as important to them as receiving a salary.

Despite a projected increase in health insurance premiums, employees appear willing to pay more in order to continue their receipt of benefits. While 44% of those surveyed responded that they are paying more out-of-pocket for health benefits this year, 46% of the participants claimed that these benefits were “definitely worth it,” up from a satisfaction rate of 38% the prior year. Another 40% responded that these benefits were “probably worth it.” The survey attributed some of this boost in satisfaction to an increased participation in wellness and disease management programs. According to the findings, almost a third of those surveyed claimed that they participate in their employer’s wellness program “a great deal,” up from 23% in 2010. Approximately 26% reported that they take advantage of their employer’s disease management program “a great deal,” up from 15% in 2010.

In addition, the survey found that there was a large jump in employee approval of the health care benefits information that they were provided. In 2011, 42% of those surveyed claimed that they were “very satisfied” with such information, up from 27% the prior year.

Overall, the new health care law is being viewed more positively. This year, 31% of those surveyed claimed that they are better off because of the changes made by the Affordable Care Act, up from only 18% the prior year. On the flip side, 33% of respondents believe that they are worse off, down from 43% in 2010.

In a press release, Suzanne Nolan, Partner and Director of Marketing and Communications for Mercer’s US Outsourcing business, stated:

Across the board, we’re seeing employees warm up to the idea of health care reform, specifically when it comes to projecting how they will be personally affected. This emerging attitude shift reinforces the need to simplify the complex topic of health care reform and make it more understandable and meaningful for employees, especially as we anticipate the upcoming provisions of health care reform that will need to be implemented in 2014, which will most likely have a more significant impact on a broader number of employees.