From health savings accounts to wellness programs, companies—and employees—see health benefits as top priority.
According to a survey of nearly 1,400 employees and employers by Transamerica Center for Health Studies, companies are offering health benefits at the highest level since 2013. Eight-five percent of employers offer these benefits to full- and part-time employees. Benefit offers increase significantly with company size, and small business are still less likely to provide healthcare benefits. In fact, about half of survey respondents cited their company not being big enough as a reason not to offer health insurance.
Among other survey findings:
· There is a dramatic rise in companies offering health savings accounts, up from 33% in 2015 to 45% in 2018.
· The reasons for offering good health benefits vary, with 16% saying it is the most important benefit-related priority, 11% citing the need to provide access to quality providers, and 10% identifying lowering out-of-pocket costs as an impetus.
Over 60% of employers surveyed said their company is “extremely/very aware” of the potential changes to healthcare policy coming out of Congress. Small companies most commonly said they would not make any changes if the employer mandate is eliminated, while large companies were most likely to say that they would evaluate coverage options. Responses from midsize companies suggest they are split between the two possible courses of action. Most employers of all sizes said that employees have expressed at least some fears about possible changes in healthcare policy. Not surprisingly, they are most concerned about losing their healthcare due to pre-existing conditions.
Cost is on everyone’s mind, and 80% of employers said they are doing something to manage costs. Toward this end, 29% are offering a variety of PPO plans, 28% are encouraging the use of generic medications, and about three in 20 are offering an HMO health plan. Employers of all sizes are concerned about the affordability of health insurance for their employees and about workers’ ability to afford their out-of-pocket health care expenses.
Wellness programs continue to be popular, and most employers believe their wellness programs have positively impacted job satisfaction, workers’ commitment, turnover, and absenteeism. Most employees agree that wellness programs have significant benefits. Nonetheless, about one-third of employers said they still do not offer these types of programs to employees.
While 84% of employers said that leadership is committed to improving employees’ health, this message is slow to reach their workers; as just 40% think their health is a priority for management.