- Employer-sponsored health plans were available to 69% of private-sector workers in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Health coverage also was available to 89% of state and local government workers. Access to health plans was based on establishment size, BLS figures showed. The report also reviewed workers' access to paid time off and life insurance.
- The private sector saw a 50% health benefits participation rate, with state and local governments at 70%. The report also noted that 94% of union workers had access to medical benefits.
- The number of workers with access to employer-sponsored healthcare benefits rose for the first time since 2012, according to the Wall Street Journal. The uptick might be the result of employers offering better health plans to attract and retain talent in a tight labor market, the Journal said.
The unemployment rate has hovered at or below 4% for the last few months. And while employers remain hesitant to raise wages, many have improved their benefits offerings to compete for talent. Voluntary benefits and other in-demand offerings score well with job hunters. Healthcare coverage, however, remains a top priority and the reason that more than half of workers say they stay on the job, an America’s Health Insurance Plans study revealed.
Employers that offer comprehensive coverage tend to have a leg-up on their competitors, a similar Clutch study showed; but many employers are struggling to balance comprehensive coverage with the rising cost of healthcare, generally.
Healthcare costs have steadily risen for employers year after year for some time, threatening the solvency of such plans overall. In response, some employers are beginning to bypass the middle man and negotiate directly with providers to provide value-based care that employees actually access — heralding the swath of changes that may come to healthcare coverage in future years.