A new study commissioned by the national non-profit Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) and conducted by Harris Poll found that employers are optimistic regarding their financial stability and ability to provide robust benefit packages. More than half of employers expect wages will increase while nearly two in three expect profitability to increase in the next 1 to 2 years. The number of employers offering health benefits to part time employees nearly doubled while the number of employers reporting they plan on dropping health benefits to employees next year fell to 1%.
The survey also found a continued interest in workplace wellness program both among employers and employees. A large majority of employers say their workplace wellness program positively impacts workers’ health, productivity, and performance. Employers also report their workplace wellness program positively impacts healthcare costs. Please see the full survey here.
Compared to 2015 employers are significantly more likely to feel lowering insurance premiums for their employees is their biggest healthcare related priority. Employers’ cost concerns are not likely to be felt by employees, about four in five employers feel their company is concerned about the affordability of health insurance and healthcare expenses, but just over half of employees feel the same.
Perception on Benefits
Over four in five of both employers and employees agree that healthcare benefits are important for attracting and retaining employees. While nearly one in five companies plan on changing their plan options in the next 1 – 2 years, nearly one-third do not expect to make any changes. Changing plan options and implementing a wellness program are among the most commonly reported changes across all company sizes.
Wellness Programs Offerings
Wellness program offering continues to rise – 28% of employers stated they have implemented wellness programs for their companies in the past 12 months. The survey found a continued disconnect between employers and employees in terms of employees’ knowledge of benefits and employees’ perception of leadership commitment to wellness. Over half of employers (55%) offer wellness programs but only 36% of employees with employer coverage say they work for an employer who offers a wellness program. Consistent with 2015, over 80% of employers say leadership is committed to improving the health of their employees, but only one third of employees feel the same way.
Most important healthcare benefit-related priority for employers in 2016:
- Providing best healthcare benefits package possible (18%)
- Ensuring our employees have access to enough quality providers (physicians and hospitals) to meet health needs (10%)
- Lowering out-of-pocket healthcare costs to employees (9%)
- Offering health insurance to all employees (both part-time and full-time) (9%)
- Lowering health insurance premiums for employees (9%)
- Complying with the ACA (5%)
Top reasons for employers not likely to offer a health insurance plan in the next 1-2 years:
- Company not big enough (55%)
- Concerned about cost (30%)
- Company encountering difficult business conditions (8%)
- Company or management not interested (7%)
- Employees not interested (7%)
SHOP Marketplace Awareness
Awareness of SHOP Marketplaces is the lowest since 2014. Around half of small businesses say that they are aware of SHOP Marketplaces and less than three in ten say they know how to access SHOP coverage for their employees. 29% of small companies say they have heard about SHOP Marketplace in their state and about the same percentage say they know how to access the SHOP Marketplace coverage for their employees.
ABOUT THE SURVEY
The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of the Transamerica Center for Health Studies. The employer survey was a 20-minute online survey among 1,502 employer decision makers ages 18 and up. Qualified respondents were primary decision-makers of employee benefits at their company, employed by or the proprietor of a for-profit (non-educational) organization, and owner, CEO/Chairman, Director of HR, Benefits Manager, other HR professional responsible for employee benefits, or other professional responsible for employee benefits. The survey was conducted August 29 to September 13, 2016.