Affordability, a Major Concern for Employer-Based Health Coverage

According to a new survey conducted by a US nonprofit organization, Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS), most companies acknowledge the importance of employee health benefits yet they cited affordability as their top concern when providing coverage. The survey data was gathered from 1,379 employer decision-makers back in September 2019. 

Hector De La Torre, executive director of TCHS, said that employers were aware of the impacts of health benefits when it comes to employees’ productivity and absenteeism. Moreover, mental health — a formerly taboo subject in the workplace — is now valued by American employers as well. 

Based on the survey report, 96% of employers believe that it would be good for their business if they made improvements in regard to mental health in the workplace. Surprisingly, 17% of them said that their company had no mental health resources available and only 65% think that they provided sufficient mental health resources to their employees.

Some of the most common mental health resources offered by companies were mental health awareness training and stress management classes. 

With regard to the current state of employer-based health benefits, almost 100% of midsize and large employers reported that they offered health insurance to full-time workers. The survey data also revealed that most of the companies will continue offering health insurance and other healthcare benefits to their employees. 

De La Torre added that there is indeed a consistency when looking at the healthcare plans of employers. They are likewise focused on the bottom line of offering healthcare benefits — attracting and retaining excellent employees. 

Although numerous companies seem positive in maintaining health benefits, the majority of them are still concerned about the overall costs and affordability. To be specific, the report says that almost 7 out of 10 employers (regardless of whether they offer health benefits or not) were worried about the costs of employee healthcare benefits. 

The good news is that employers were taking steps to minimize costs. According to the study, some of them talked to benefit advisors about ways to reduce costs. While others looked for ways to decrease health insurance premiums or compared options while shopping for insurance.  

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