Fact Sheet: Small Employees
Overall Benefits Package
  • Nearly one in four (39%) employees at small businesses say their employers do not offer insurance benefits.
  • The benefits package for employees at small companies includes:

 Benefits  %  Benefits  %
 Major Medical  78%  Disability Insurance  50%
 Life Insurance  56%  Voluntary Insurance  38%
 Critical Illness  26%  Flex Spending Plan  36%
 Dental Insurance  63%  401(k) or pension  66%
 Vision Insurance  52%  Flex Work Options 31% 

  • Employees at small businesses are less satisfied with their benefits packages than those at large and medium-sized companies; 43% say they are only somewhat satisfied with their overall benefits packages and 18% are not very/not at all satisfied.
  • 37% of workers say their current benefits package only meets their family’s needs somewhat, and 21% say their benefits package meets their needs not very/not at all well.
  • When asked if they feel fully protected by their current insurance coverage, 29% of employees at small businesses say they only somewhat agree, and 35% say they somewhat/strongly disagree.
  • Employees at small businesses are more likely to believe that their benefits packages are less competitive than the benefits of their peers at other companies (42%).
  • 52% of employees agree that they would be more informed about health insurance choices if an insurance consultant were present during enrollment.
Benefits Communications
  • 45% of employees agree that a well-communicated benefits program would make them less likely to leave their jobs.
  • 48% of employees say they don’t receive enough communication about employee benefits from their HR departments.
  • 45% say they get their insurance advice/information from colleagues, friends and/or family.
  • Employees at small companies are least likely to get their information/advice about employee benefits from their company’s HR professionals (30%), compared to those at medium-sized (64%) and large (63%) companies.
  • 40% of employees say their company’s HR department communicates only somewhat effectively; 29% say their HR department communicates not very/not at all effectively. 
  • The majority (60%) of employees at small businesses say they only receive communications about benefits upon being hired or during open enrollment.
  • Employees at small companies are most likely to feel not very/not at all informed about their company’s benefits (22%), compared to employees at medium-sized (14%) and large (12%) companies, and 38% of employees at small businesses say they are only somewhat informed about their company’s benefits.
Benefits Engagement
  • Only 9% of employees at small businesses strongly agree they need to be more engaged in making decisions about their health insurance coverage.
  • The majority of employees (65%) strongly agree that they would be more likely to take advantage of a benefits package tailored to their personal situation.
  • Over half (56%) of employees say that an overall benefits package is very/extremely influential on work productivity.
  • 42% of employees say adequate insurance coverage would play a significant role in helping them cope with personal issues.
  • When asked if they take full advantage of their company’s benefits, nearly one-fourth (24%) of employees at small companies say they somewhat/strongly disagree. An additional 27% say they only somewhat agree. 
Level of Protection and Preparedness
  • Over half (53%) of employees at small companies say they are not very/not at all prepared to pay out-of-pocket expenses not covered by major medical insurance.
  • One-third (33%) of all employees have less than $500 available to pay out-of-pocket health care costs resulting from accident or serious illness—a higher percentage than employees at medium-sized and large companies.
  • Of the 46% of workers who say they have experienced issues affecting their ability to get work done, 53% experienced health problems.  
  • 35% of employees say their level of health insurance coverage greatly influences their financial stability.
  • When asked if they have confidence in their ability to cope with the financial impact of possible events such as illness or injury, 37% say they somewhat/strongly disagree. Another 26% say they only somewhat agree.
Role of Voluntary Benefits
  • Employees at small businesses are least likely to be offered voluntary benefits (38%); only 26% are enrolled.
  • 30% of employees at small companies say that voluntary benefits would provide more comprehensive insurance coverage; another 28% say the additional benefits would allow them to meet their coverage needs.
  • Over half (58%) of employees say they would be likely to purchase voluntary insurance benefits offered by their employers.
  • Employees at small business are more likely to believe their HR departments are not very/not at all knowledgeable about voluntary benefits (23%). An additional 38% say their HR organizations are only somewhat knowledgeable.

The 2012 Aflac WorkForces Report was conducted January 24–February 23, 2012, by Research Now on behalf of Aflac.