If employers don't offer the right digital health options, employees will find them elsewhere
- Employers are still offering digital health benefits that don't line up with workers' top picks, a new Castlight Health, Inc., survey found. According to the State of Digital Health: 2018 Annual Report, employers commonly provide benefits with low employee engagement, such as smoking cessation programs, employee assistance programs (EAPs) and health risk assessments. The report shows that these benefits are widespread, but aren't meeting workers' expectations.
- If not offered anything, employees will find solutions to meet their digital health needs on their own. The report says that they're using tech tools to access two of their top three health goals — weight loss and help with sleeplessness — without going through their employer. The report also found that employees in general are 1.8 times more likely to access digital health programs on their own rather than through an employer.
- The report notes changes for employers in 2018. Financial wellness programs are on their agendas this year, with 23% planning to add a financial wellness program in 2018. And for employees, digital health access is popular across all generations; 98% of employees report having used one form of health tech before.
Could 2018 be the year that employees and workers get on the "same page" regarding benefits? With employers committed to offering a financial component in their wellness programs, it's a start. Although financial wellbeing didn't make employees' top three benefits in Castlight Health's report, the three that did are all categorized as wellbeing programs.
High touch tools to access benefits are no longer just a convenience; they're a means for employees to get health information anytime they need and want it. These tools have been shown to improve healthcare outcomes, increase engagement and lower healthcare costs.
Some health insurers are making medical information available digitally to their plan participants. Employees can access health tips and assistance from third-party providers, such as nurse hotlines, physicians and other specialists.
A challenge for employers offering more wellness benefits, however, is making sure these offerings meet employees' expectations. A late 2017 Willis Towers Watson study found that 61% of employees feel their employers' wellness programs aren't meeting their needs, meaning employers may want to conduct polls or otherwise ask employees what they expect from their benefits.