Employer Healthcare Survey – Employers Hold Steady in Time of Uncertainty

The Fifth Annual Employer Healthcare survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of the national nonprofit Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) found that employers are offering healthcare benefits at the highest rate since 2013. However, employers and employees alike express their awareness and concerns about potential changes to health insurance and healthcare taking place in Washington.

Nearly two in three (65 percent) employers say their company is extremely/very aware of the potential changes to healthcare policy coming out of Washington D.C., and over a quarter (26 percent) of employers report that the most common fear among their employees is losing their health coverage due to a pre-existing condition. 

How employers would like their company to react if the employer-based health insurance mandate is removed:

  • Evaluate coverage options (22 percent);
  • Not make any change (21 percent);
  • Increase coverage (19 percent)


Over three in four (76 percent) employers say they are concerned about the cost of health insurance, and of those, a majority (86 percent) are taking some action to reduce expenses. For the coming year, employers most commonly say it is extremely/very likely their company will restructure the organization (33 percent), reduce healthcare costs (32 percent), or reduce educational reimbursement (32 percent). 

While employers say their company is looking into offering more health insurance options in reaction to employee affordability concerns, only 53 percent of employees feel that their employer is concerned about the affordability of their health insurance,. 

Top responses to address employee affordability concerns: 

  • Comparison shopping health insurance across carriers (34 percent);
  • Educating employees on reducing out-of-pocket healthcare costs (34 percent);
  • Finding ways to reduce insurance premiums (34 percent). 

Workplace Wellness Programs

The survey found an increase of employers offering wellness programs in 2017 compared to 2016 (62 percent versus 55 percent). However, there are several reasons for employers that are not offering a wellness program, with the top two being 29 percent say their company is not big enough and 23 percent say their employees are not interested. On the other hand, employers who do offer a wellness program believe that it has various positive impacts on their employees and overall company attractiveness.  

Other notable findings regarding Workplace Wellness include:

  • About four in five employers believe the workplace wellness programs they offer have had a positive impact on workers' health (78 percent) and productivity and performance (75 percent).
  • Seventy-four percent of employers say that their workplace wellness program positively impacts workers’ job satisfaction.
  • Over four in 10 employers are communicating the importance of workplace wellness program participation (44 percent), incorporating it into company culture (44 percent) and offering incentives for participation (41 percent). 
  • Only 40 percent of employees said that their company offers a wellness program, compared to 62 percent of employers who say they offer a workplace wellness program.
  • Managers (78 percent) and professionals (75 percent) are more likely than hourly workers (65 percent) to participate in workplace wellness, according to employers.