It’s no surprise health insurance continues to lead the way as the most important of employee benefits. Survey after survey shows it: A landmark survey by Fractl found that better health insurance, dental, and vision benefits were named by 54% of respondents as worth “heavy consideration” when making their employment decisions. 34% said they were worth “some consideration.”
That means only 12% of respondents did not rate health insurance as a big consideration.
That trend has held steady for years, no doubt bolstered by growing uncertainty about health insurance in America. In 2019, most respondents in a Society for Human Resource Management survey named health insurance within their top three most important employee benefits by large margins across the workforce. Even 47% of the youngest workers were on board.
2018? A striking 88% said the quality of health insurance options was important in deciding whether or not to accept a job offer. 2017? 95% of employees were interested in better health insurance benefits and more than 80% expressed certainty they would be looking for them in five years.
The methodology and sample sizes may vary, but there are few times data is as transparent as this. Businesses can get the most leverage with employees by raising the availability of health insurance. But how can they control the cost of that coverage while making their benefits package more attractive?
Do Your Employees Value Better Benefits More Than A Raise In Pay?
One interesting idea borne out by recent numbers on employee benefits is that many workers value a good new benefit more than a raise in take-home pay. In just one example, the American Institute of CPAs found Americans were four to one in favor of more workplace benefits compared to more pay.
This is an interesting quirk of workplace psychology, because employed Americans overwhelmingly cite financial anxiety as a driving concern in their lives. A 2020 survey by Bank of America found a steep decline in employees’ sense of financial well-being across generations and genders.
More than 50% of employees report feeling stressed by money, while nearly as many say that stress interferes with their performance at work. This gives employees an opportunity to build loyalty and improve morale without having to deepen their investments in either payroll or health insurance.
The cost-effective answer? Financial wellness benefits.
Financial Wellness Programs Make Your Health Insurance Benefits More Attractive
The Bank of America survey finds that, counter to past years’ trends, more employers are feeling a sense of responsibility for the financial well-being of their employees. As more cash simply isn’t attractive to many employees, supporting financial wellness in other ways may be a better choice.
Financial wellness may also be a place to grow your investment when expanding the number of your healthcare options simply isn’t feasible. Out-of-pocket healthcare costs are a major concern for many employees, amounting to about $8,000 annually, far more than most people would see in raises.
With that in mind, financial wellness benefits may ease the burden of financial stress.
BoA names a number of benefits that are growing in importance, including:
- Retirement plans
- Financial support for healthcare
- Budgeting services
- Savings vehicles for college
- Debt management help
Of these, the idea of additional financial support programs for healthcare is of particular interest. Many workers are hesitant to use their employer-sponsored health insurance plan because of the deductible exposure they incur when visiting the doctor or filling a prescription.
By enhancing financial support in lieu of large raises, small employers may find themselves able to capture greater employee loyalty while tackling one of their workforce’s biggest personal challenges. At the same time, they spend less than they would on payroll. That can help control overhead, including tax liabilities, for enterprises that need to focus on cash flow to achieve growth.
There are other potential areas for low-cost benefit growth, too. For example, contracting a financial advisor can empower your employees to make sound long-term decisions that influence benefits use.
For those who want to take a direct approach, however, financial benefits that help employees make full use of their health benefits may be the key. After all, benefits turn into nothing but overhead in the end if nobody uses them!
Take A Two-Pronged Approach By Lowering The Cost Of Your Health Insurance
On the other side of the equation, actively managing healthcare costs has a compounding effect on your business finances. In today’s environment, you should never assume that you have the very best deal.
Many entrepreneurs find themselves in the position of making too much money for a subsidy on today’s Affordable Care Act insurance markets, but they still want robust health insurance coverage.
In a case like this, it’s important to audit your situation on an annual basis and make sure you aren’t wasting money on health insurance. Although it might be the most important investment you ever make, it is exactly that – an investment, and one that needs to be reviewed.
Health insurance as we know it is in the midst of a political firestorm. The Society for Human Resource Management recently penned an article on the future of the Affordable Care Act outlining the complex situation and how it stands to impact millions of Americans.
The long and short of it? The Supreme Court has a number of options and could easily leave the coverage defined by the Affordable Care Act in place. In the long run, however, recent political developments have left that coverage in peril – perhaps more so now than ever.
With its hundreds of thousands of members, SHRM writing on the topic is a clarion call. It’s time for businesses to brace for the unexpected and review their other options for health insurance. A full-scale termination of ACA’s provisions could arrive as early as the coming spring.
Optimize Your Health Benefits And Get More Value From Your Investments
2021 may well turn out to be the Affordable Care Act’s last year. Although Supreme Court action can leave the opportunity for the law to amended – meaning that coverage might not simply end – writing is on the wall. Businesses like yours don’t have to be caught unprepared.
Luckily, the market is quickly expanding to accommodate the future.
You don’t have to wait until the Supreme Court makes its move in order to make yours. There are already alternative health insurance plans available. You have many opportunities to find the healthcare you want, even if your earnings disqualify you from an ACA subsidy under today’s market rules.
There are things employees value more than money, but few – if any – more important to them than their health. To put your company on a strong foundation for the future, be sure you have the right health insurance on offer. Then, you can build a constellation of benefits around your plan that will increase access and perceived value – positioning you as an employer of choice.
To learn more, contact us.