We are witnessing the reshaping of the health benefits landscape. As new health care reform regulations go into effect, workers have more health care choices than ever before and businesses have many complex strategies to manage.
The 2013 Aflac WorkForces Report is the 3 rd annual Aflac employee benefits study examining benefit trends and attitudes. Key findings from this year’s report provide insight into four significant workforce and benefit themes:
- Implications of Consumer-Driven Health Care: While more business leaders are embracing cost-friendly consumer-driven models, workers reveal they may not be ready to effectively take the reins.
- The Competitive Edge: A small percentage of companies are leveraging key human resources best practices to gain a competitive edge in the changing benefits landscape.
- Benefits Matter: Benefits are key essential to job satisfaction, retention and demonstrating a commitment to workforce well-being.
- The Rewards of Voluntary Benefits: When businesses offer voluntary benefits, there are hidden rewards for the businesses and even greater advantages for workers who are enrolled.
Managing Benefit Costs
- Offering robust benefits while staying within budget/cost constraints is a top benefits challenge for 40 percent of large businesses, 48 percent of medium-sized businesses, and 47 percent of small businesses.
- Companies continue shifting health care costs to employees/looking for ways to keep costs in line:
Consumers Not Prepared for Health Care Reform
- 76 percent of workers said they are not very or not at all knowledgeable about federal and state health care exchanges.
- 76 percent at least somewhat agree with the statement, “health care reform is too complicated to understand.”
- 55 percent of workers have done nothing to prepare for possible changes to the health care system. Simultaneously, nearly three-quarters of today’s workers (74 percent) agree with the statement, “I believe my employer will educate me about changes to my health care coverage as a result of the health care reform.”
- Alarmingly, only 13 percent of companies named “educating our employees about health care reform” as an important issue for their organization.
Consumer-Driven Healthcare Still Confusing, Challenging for Consumers
- 72 percent of workers have not heard the phrase “consumer-driven health care.” Of those who had heard the phrase, 38 percent said they don’t understand it very well or at all.
- More than half (54 percent) of workers agreed with the statement, “I would prefer not to be more in control over their health insurance expenses and options because I will not have the time or knowledge to effectively manage it.”
- 53 percent of workers worry they “may not adequately manage my health insurance coverage, leaving my family less protected than we currently are.”
- Only 26 percent of workers think they will “have better health insurance protection for their family because they will have greater control over how and where they utilize their health insurance.”
- 24 percent completely/strongly agree that they will “be able to save more money in the long-term by taking greater ownership in their health care expenses and options.”
Not Prepared Financially
- Only 24 percent of workers completely agree or strongly agree they will be financially prepared in the event of an unexpected emergency or serious illness.
- Further, 46 percent of employees have less than $1,000 to be able to pay for out-of-pocket expenses associated with an unexpected serious illness or accident, and 25 percent of employees have less than $500.
- Four-in-ten (40 percent) workers would have to borrow from their 401(k), friends and family to pay for out-of-pocket expenses associated with an unexpected serious illness or accident; 28 percent would have to use a credit card.
The Importance of Benefits
- Organizations fall into four broad categories based on the number and nature of benefits offerings, as well as how the organization’s leadership views and communicates benefits initiatives:
- Talent Attractor (15% in 2013 vs. 11% in 2012)
- Benefits Believer (47% in 2013 vs. 50% in 2012)
- Simple Solutions (15% in 2013 vs. 12% in 2012)
- Benefits Skeptic (26% in 2013 vs. 24% in 2012)
- 59 percent of employees say they are likely to accept a job offer with slightly lower compensation but better benefits.
- Workers overwhelmingly agree that benefits influence job satisfaction, employer loyalty, work productivity and decision to leave a company:
The Impact of Voluntary Benefits
- 60 percent of employees say they would be at least somewhat likely to purchase voluntary insurance plans if their employer offered them.
- 25 percent of employers offering voluntary benefits have been able to reduce their workers’ compensation claims since they began offering voluntary benefits.
- Employees with voluntary benefits are 1.2 times more likely to say they are not likely to look for a job in the next year (60 percent), compared to 49 percent of those who are not offered voluntary benefits.
- Employees with voluntary benefits are also more likely to score higher on multiple job satisfaction indicators, including the belief their employer is known as a great place to work, that their employer takes care of its employees, and the likelihood they will recommend their workplace to friends (chart below.)
About the Study
The 2013 Aflac WorkForces Report is the 3 rd annual Aflac employee benefits study examining benefit trends and attitudes. The study, conducted by Research Now, captures responses from 1,884 benefits decision-makers and 5,299 employees across the U.S. To learn more about the Aflac WorkForces Report, visit AflacWorkForcesReport.com