Williams is a leading energy infrastructure company that connects North America’s growing supplies of natural gas and natural gas liquids to expanding markets to serve consumers, industry and cleaner power generation plants. Our most valuable resources are the people we employ and on whose talent and commitment we rely.
We strive to be a great workplace by providing employees with a Total Rewards package in exchange for their important work. Our benefits program, including a comprehensive medical plan and wellness program, makes up a meaningful portion of our Total Rewards.
Ongoing enhancements to medical benefits focus on employee education, cost transparency and plan design changes that encourage participants to engage in managing their medical care. Since 2010, our annualized medical claims trend is under 1.5 percent, saving the plan more than $14 million compared to industry trends.
Our efforts have significantly increased participation and improved plan use without increasing employees’ share of plan costs, which has remained unchanged for more than a decade. We also didn’t increase employee premiums for 2014.
Last year, we introduced a second consumer-driven health plan (CDHP) with lower deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, doubling CDHP enrollment. Education about potential long-term value of health savings accounts and communication to employees with significant 401(k) contributions helped drive a 12 percent increase in new accounts and a 50 percent increase in elected 2014 employee contributions.
The use of preventive care services and preventive medications remains strong among CDHP participants. In 2009, Williams added 100 percent paid preventive care. Prescription drug plan design changes, including no-cost preventive medications and a coinsurance feature for brand name medications also provide incentives to those who work with physicians to use more cost-effective medications. An online tool provides plan members with cost information for each prescription, including company-paid amounts and alternative lower-cost medications. Since 2010, our generic use has improved significantly and our per-member pharmacy cost has declined, saving the plan more than $10 million.
Employees are encouraged to participate in activities that lead to identification and treatment of medical risks or conditions early, improving outcomes, quality of life and individual performance. In the past year, we expanded company-paid wellness screenings from 23 to 59 locations and added a telemedicine benefit for routine services.
In the coming years, Williams plans to continue our focus on activities that offer high-quality, affordable coverage for our employees.