Home News 51% of Employees Satisfied with Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits

51% of Employees Satisfied with Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits

51% of Employees Satisfied with Employer-Sponsored Health Benefits

October 11, 2021 – More than half of employees are satisfied with their current employer-sponsored health benefits, though many faced difficulties due to the rise of healthcare costs, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s (EBRI) 2021 Workplace Wellness Survey.

EBRI, along with research firm Greenwald Research, surveyed 2,016 individuals between ages 21 and 64 from July 7, 2021, through July 27, 2021.

Nine in ten employees received health insurance through an employer-sponsored health plan, whether it was from their current employer (80 percent), former employer, or a parent or spouse’s employer.

More than half (63 percent) reported that they were very or extremely satisfied with their health plan, and 28 percent said they were somewhat satisfied. Just over 60 percent agreed that they are content with their health benefits and would not want to trade benefits for high wages or vice versa.

According to the survey results, health insurance was the most common benefit that employers offered, as well as the most chosen benefit by employees. Dental and vision coverage also ranked high for most offered and chosen benefits.

Employee needs and expectations for employer health benefits have shifted slightly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with an uptick in the desire for mental health services.

Nearly half of employees reported that mental health wellness programs are more important than they were before the pandemic, but only 32 percent said their employer health plan offers mental health resources.

Even fewer employees reported that their employer offered mental health benefits such as free counseling or access to a healthcare navigator (31 and 27 percent, respectively).

For the employees who did have the option for these benefits, more than 60 percent were interested in them.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased mental health awareness and importance, but 60 percent of employees reported that their employers’ efforts to address employee wellbeing have stayed the same since the start of the pandemic. Only 31 percent said efforts have increased.

Additionally, less than half of employees reported satisfaction with work-life balance, a factor that may significantly impact employees’ mental health.

However, employees expressed confidence in their employers’ ability to offer quality benefits. Nearly three out of four employees strongly or somewhat agreed that they trusted their employer to provide health benefits that would improve their overall wellbeing.

More than seven in ten employees agreed that their employer had a responsibility to ensure that employees are mentally and physically healthy (76 and 74 percent, respectively).

Other than compensation, employees responded that the most valued aspects from an employer are quality healthcare coverage, work-life balance, and a flexible work schedule, the EBRI survey stated.

Despite overall satisfaction with their employer-sponsored health plans, employees still struggled with high healthcare costs.

One in three employees experienced an increase in their healthcare costs in 2021.

“Due to these increases, employees have experienced a variety of impacts including increasing contributions to HSAs, decreasing contributions to their retirement plan, delaying going to the doctor, increasing credit card debt, or using up all or most of their savings,” Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program, stated in the press release.

Of the employees who experienced increased healthcare expenses, more than 40 percent reported having difficulty paying for basic necessities and having to delay retirement longer than they planned. Nearly half (48 percent) said that they delayed going to the doctor in response to high healthcare costs.

More employees faced difficulties due to rising healthcare costs in 2021 compared to 2020, the survey results indicated.

A separate Marathon Health survey revealed that over half of individuals on employer-sponsored health plans reported high out-of-pocket healthcare spending as the top area of improvement.

Some employers have implemented different strategies to curb high healthcare costs, including advanced primary care, episode-based benefits, and integrated health benefits.

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