| Jun 16 2017

Healthy, Wealthy and Data-Wise

Emily Ferreira
Associate, Health & Benefits Survey Research, Mercer

As plan sponsors, employers are focused on providing benefits for their employees’ health and financial well-being, with nearly half of large employers -- those with 500+ employees -- providing financial health resources other than retirement planning, according to Mercer survey data. But while taking steps to protect and enhance employees’ personal health and bank accounts, protecting their personal information is just as important.

As described in this recent SHRM article, cyberattacks targeting health and retirement plans are becoming more common. By accessing retirement accounts, hackers can steal personal information and withdraw funds from accounts. Due to the large amount of sensitive information collected by benefit plans and often shared between multiple vendors, this information is especially vulnerable to attacks.

It's common for vendors to offer identify theft prevention services at no charge after a data breach, but it’s better to have those protections and monitoring services already in place to ensure the safety of employees’ personal information. According to Mercer’s survey data, 25% of large employers offered ID theft protection services to their employees in 2016.

Outlined in the SHRM article are steps plan sponsors can take to safeguard data and what actions should be taken in the event of a breach to make sure employees and other necessary parties are notified appropriately. Making sure safeguards are in place within your organization and with vendors associated with your health benefit plans is crucial for the protection of your information.

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