Morgan Backing Aged-Care Plan

J.P. Morgan & Co. is encouraging New York businesses to help their employees deal with the problems of caring for elderly relatives.

Along with American Express Co. and Philip Morris Co., Morgan is attempting to drum up interest in the Partnership for Eldercare, a health care information and referral service established in 1988 by the New York City Department for the Aging. The partnership, initially funded by grants from the three companies, is now supported by corporate fees for referrals and group seminars.

Earlier this month, Morgan hosted a forum for bank, health care, and local business executives to encourage them to join the three corporations in the consortium.

In addition to offering an attractive employee benefit, the program is intended to help improve productivity by reducing absenteeism and making it easier for workers to concentrate on the job.

Through the service, workers can gain information on specific programs and services such as finding, health care workers and determining what costs are covered by insurance and Medicare.

"It has just been a tremendous success," said Barbara Katersky, director of employee relations at American Express. Later this year, the financial services giant will expand the program to its Florida operation.

Morgan estimates it spends $50,000 a year for the program. About 8% of its 8,500 work force took advantage of the service last year.

Use has been climbing. In the first year, 1% to 2% of the employees at the three companies used the service. The following year, it was 2% to 5%.

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