Employers offering health benefits at highest level since 2013
- Employers are offering healthcare benefits at the highest level since 2013 despite uncertain times for the U.S. healthcare system, according to a new survey of benefits decision-makers released by the Transamerica Center for Health Studies. The online survey, conducted by Harris Poll, showed 28% of respondents made changes to their healthcare benefits, with 32% adding health insurance and 36% adding other healthcare benefits.
- Company size was cited as the top reason for not offering or being unable to offer health insurance; 59% of small business reps in the survey said their company offered healthcare benefits to full- and part-time workers, compared to 85% of overall employers. Respondents also cited cost (28%) as an obstacle. Only 16% of respondents said they think offering the best health benefits package is the biggest benefit-related priority. Just 1% of those currently offering health insurance said they won't be providing it in two to three years.
- The survey results also showed that 61% of benefits decision-makers said their company is "extremely/very aware" of potential healthcare policy changes at the federal level. Just over a third (39%) of respondents anticipate health insurance quality improving in the next one to three years.
Healthcare coverage remains top consideration for job applicants. According to a survey released in February by America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), health coverage is the reason 56% of employees remain on their current job. The AHIP survey also showed that most employees are satisfied with their employer's health plan. Health coverage, therefore, can be an effective means of attracting, hiring and retaining talents.
After a being a strong point of discussion in the late months of 2017, Congressional health policy has generally failed to impact larger employers' pain points. Most employers in the Transamerica survey were aware of the potential healthcare policy changes, but were uncertain about the potential impact of repealing the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate. A smaller contingent (27%) in the survey were concerned about protections for preexisting conditions being overturned.
Employers are continuously trying to curb healthcare costs, which the Transamerica survey and other studies affirm. But those efforts have proven difficult, given healthcare system issues regarding the ability to evaluate quality of care, as well as the increasing cost of prescription drugs.