Health and wellness plans fall short of workers' expectations
- A new Accenture survey on employer-sponsored health and wellness (H&W) programs found that 82% of workers expect employers to offer H&W plans, but what's offered often doesn't meet their needs. While workers want better H&W plans, 60% of employers want to reduce the scope of their offerings.
- The survey also showed that 68% of workers said they were educating themselves about healthcare. Only 7% were educated by their plan.
- Digital access to benefits was found to be poor, with less than 50% of employees having online access and less than 25% having access on their mobile device. But employees want easy access to their benefits information.
Employees clearly want and need health and wellness plans, but they won't use benefits that have little relevance to their lifestyles or that they can't easily access online or by a mobile device. Offering voluntary benefits is one solution for employers looking to curb costs while offering much-in-demand plans to attract and retain talent.
According to the Benefitfocus 2017 State of Employee Benefits report, 47% of large employers surveyed offered at least one of three voluntary benefits. Traditional offerings include accident, hospital indemnity and critical illness coverage, but they can also include nontraditional benefits such as homeowner's insurance, identity theft protection, pet insurance and legal coverage.
Technology can resolve the "no access to benefits" problem — and there's been a real explosion of availability of such tools. High-touch tools give employees 24/7 access to their benefits by phone, websites and mobile apps. Marcia Otto, vice president of Product Strategy at West’s Health Advocate Solutions, recently told HR Dive that touch-tool benefits include live healthcare providers, second medical opinions, telemedicine, nurses' support, disease management and prenatal/maternal support.