Insider News: Oct. 4, 2019

Health benefits are an important part of any employer-employee relationship. This week, we have perspectives from both sides on the value of thoughtful benefit plans, plus some insights from health care executives on their priorities for 2020.

Employers eye consumer-friendly health benefit options: Survey

A Harvard Business Review and League survey shows 77% of employers believe offering innovative benefits to employees is a crucial tool for competing for the best workers.  In addition, 57% said the number of health benefits programs they offer is increasing and 51% expect health benefits to become even more important in the future than they are at present.

From a recruitment perspective, 92% of organizations said offering comprehensive benefits demonstrates the employer “understands and cares for the needs and wants of its employees.” But employers are concerned their workers aren’t effectively selecting benefits for themselves - less than half (41%) believe employees are qualified to select a plan that works for them.

To address these problems, employers are ensuring workers have a consumer-friendly way to access their benefits and offering information on benefits in moments when it’s most useful to them. 

Employees putting more consideration into choosing benefits, Prudential survey shows

A survey by Prudential shows almost two-thirds of American workers didn't automatically choose the same benefits as the previous year, indicating they're putting more thought into their choices during open enrollment. The survey also found:  

  • 35% of working adults chose the same benefits as the previous year. 
  • Those who took on a new job, an elevated role or received a raise were more likely to select new benefits.
  • In most cases, the 65% who chose new benefits credited their employer for using a variety of communication methods to keep them informed.
  • Of those choosing the same benefits, 74% said they did so because they believed those benefits were still appropriate for them.
  • Those who selected new benefits were more likely to say their benefits reduced their financial stress (79%) than those who selected the same benefits as the previous year (62%).
  • Most workers (58%) said that if auto-enrolled in an insurance policy, they would likely keep it rather than opt-out. Just 5% said they would opt-out and 37% said they would consider the cost before deciding whether to stick with it. 

Healthcare execs say 2020 priorities include price transparency, consumerism, delivery system transformation

Leaders from payer and provider organizations are developing strategies to address rising healthcare costs in 2020 through price transparency and more consumer-focused initiatives, according to HealthCare Executive Group's Top 10 report. The group of over 100 healthcare executives ranked costs and transparency as their number one issue and opportunity in the coming year, followed by healthcare consumerism and delivery system transformation.

Rounding out the Top 10 list were data and analytics, interoperability and consumer data access, holistic individual health, next-generation payment models, accessible points of care, healthcare policy and privacy and security. 

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