January 17, 2019
The American workforce is on the cusp of a shift towards better healthcare accessibility and higher-quality information surrounding it. Staying up-to-date on the latest employee benefits trends will allow employers a better grasp on just what their employees will likely be seeing as offerings in the coming year. Four trends in particular appear especially promising and should be kept at the forefront of your mind when you're thinking about employee benefits packages.
Personalized Voluntary Benefits
Consumer expectations when it comes to healthcare and workplace benefits have been evolving for quite some time now. Tim Weber, Mercery's voluntary benefits leader, has said1 that "employees will depend more on their employers for advice and help in understanding how to best leverage their benefits to address their specific needs." Benefit options are predicted to become more personal; targeted education to help employees understand what they need and how to get it will likely become more commonplace.
Insurance companies are stepping up their tech games2 and making improvements to the technology they can use to harness, collect, and share data about your employees and their health. Wearable technology and smartphone apps in particular will be key to collecting and transmitting data about health status and related activities to insurance companies.
Expanding Telehealth Options
Telehealth3 has been defined as "the use of digital information and communication, such as computers and mobile devices to access healthcare services remotely and manage your healthcare." This can be seen as the other side of the technology coin when it comes to employee healthcare benefits; trackers and apps are slowly being integrated into the tracking and transmission of health information, but computers and mobile devices are seeing wide use as tools for remotely accessing healthcare services and information.
With employees' lives getting increasingly busier, it can be hard to carve out time to make a doctor's appointment or handle prescription woes. More and more employers4 are seeking to offer services that allow for diagnosis, prescriptions, and even treatment after video or phone consultations as a part of their benefits packages.
Improved Preventative Care
More than three-quarters of large-scale employers have expressed5 that tackling high-cost healthcare claimants is a priority for them. One key factor in reducing the number of such claimants a company needs to take care of is the implementation of preventative care. Many companies are choosing to expand their healthcare benefit package offerings to include early screenings for certain diseases. Others still have started doing their own work in-house to try to keep employees healthy; many more personalized packages offered today involve incentives for employees to monitor and nurture their personal health.
A Focus on Mental and Emotional Health
Benefits specialists anticipate a growth in mental and emotional health offerings within benefit packages. A whopping 90% of employees6 have expressed that struggling with mental health keeps them from executing top-performance work when they're on the job. Even when employees aren't readily willing to admit to mental health struggles, organizations themselves have increasingly reported7 mental health and substance abuse problems in the workplace. Some employers are choosing to phase-in mental health options onsite or through virtual means; others still are working to integrate external network expansion and employee assistance programs.
2019 is set to be a year that shifts the current mentality about benefits packages. With a heavy focus placed on personal, preventative, and mental healthcare, the idea is to create a workplace that flows seamlessly and doesn't leave employees frazzled or unable to complete work. Those looking to get a better handle on what they should be integrating into their employee benefit options can contact us to speak to knowledgeable industry professionals who know where we've been and where we're heading in the world of employee healthcare.