Health benefits remain a key engagement tool despite looming regulatory change
- The Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) released a new survey showing that 66% of employees are well aware that Washington lawmakers could make policy changes to the nation's healthcare system. And for a quarter of employers, employees are worried most about being denied health coverage because of a pre-existing condition. 1,500 employers were surveyed.
- The 2017 healthcare survey, Employers Hold Steady in Time of Uncertainty, also found that 76% of employers are concerned about healthcare affordability, and 86% of that contingent are trying to reduce costs.
- The percentage of employers offering wellness programs rose to 66% over last year's rate of 55%, and 78% of employers believe wellness programs have positively affected employees. However, just 40% of workers said their employer offers a wellness program, clearly showing a disconnect.
Washington lawmakers moved on to tackle tax reform after Republicans lacked the votes to overhaul the Affordable Healthcare Act (ACA) on multiple attempts. Policy changes may eventually occur in healthcare, since there's bipartisan support for some revisions to the law. But employers seem largely bought in to the concept of offering healthcare benefits as a way to retain workers and keep them engaged.
In the meantime, employers can stay focused on treatment outcomes to hold down healthcare costs. Wellness programs that show positive results in improving employees' physical, emotional and financial well-being could also help curb healthcare costs overall, even as premiums rise as predicted, while increasing employee engagement and productivity.
But an Accountemps survey found that 82% of workers are dissatisfied with their employer's wellness plans. Indeed, it's telling that employees may not be aware that their employers offer wellness programs at all. Employers might need to monitor their plans more frequently to gauge how well employees are meeting their goals to improve their health and well-being.