The Current Carrier Industry
Employers have looked to insurance carriers to offer medical coverage and basic healthcare packages since the 1940s. In the past 90 years, the healthcare packages offered by insurance carriers have expanded but the wellness offerings have remained relatively stagnant. Today however, there is a higher demand for employers to offer wellness benefits. Because of this, employers are looking to insurances carriers for higher quality and more diverse healthcare packages.
Employers often don’t see a difference between insurance carriers, as most offer similar coverages and only differ in cost. Most are used to insurance carriers offering emergency services, hospitalization, prescription drug coverages, and other basic services. This has made the competition in the carrier industry become stale and discourages employers from putting effort into the relationship with their carriers. Insurance carriers will need to offer wellness and fitness benefits to meet employee expectations and earn a competitive advantage in the carrier industry.
Employers are Bored
Employers have offered wellness benefits as early as the 1800s, as they noticed the benefits of having healthy employers. In the 21st century, it’s been found that wellness benefits often help in reducing absenteeism, improving employee performance, and bringing a positive work environment.
Since the COVID-19 Pandemic, there has been a higher prioritization on fitness and wellness programs offered by employers. The pandemic brought increased levels of stress for employees, and the employee’s work/life balance was disrupted as many began to work from home. Now, those that are job hunting are more likely to consider jobs with substantial employee benefits rather than jobs with higher pay.
Employers are learning to diversify their benefits to not only support their current employees but attract new ones. These benefits often look like gym memberships, nutrition plans, and mental health resources. Wellness packages are most often built from scratch by employers, and many employers partner with wellness companies like Peerfit. Peerfit provides employees access to gyms and fitness classes, paid for by the employer’s insurance.
Employers have to prioritize creating a quality wellness package to truly reap the benefits of increased employee health and performance. Offering these benefits can be straining for employers, and creating wellness benefits from scratch is costly. A holistic workplace wellness program often requires resources that some employers may not have the capacity for. To save on resources and still ensure a quality wellness package, employers are looking to their insurance carriers to include fitness benefits in their healthcare packages.
Insurance Companies Can Revamp The Industry
Insurance companies that expand their healthcare plan to include fitness packages can become leaders and trendsetters in the carrier industry while benefiting from a few things:
The healthcare coverage that most carriers offer is meant to help employers as medical issues arise. These medical issues alone may be costly for both insurance carriers and employers, but employee wellness programs can help reduce these costs.
Employees often don’t have access to fitness programs, gym memberships, or stress relief resources on their own. This can lead to employees living an inactive lifestyle, bringing the risk of employees with high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and more.
Along with this, more employees are experiencing more mental health symptoms and have more work-related stress. If employees do not have ways to manage this stress, it could lead to more serious medical issues. Prolonged stress can also cause high blood pressure and heart disease.
Health insurance carriers can use fitness programs as a preventative measure to save on health cares costs. Access to care and resources that promote a healthy lifestyle and improved mental health, will lessen the amount of employee doctor visits and health risks. It's been shown that wellness programs reduce healthcare costs by 25%, and 56% of employees say their sick days are cut down.
Basic healthcare coverage has not only become a basic necessity for employers, but for employees well. Insurance carriers that offer basic health plans don’t stand out to employers. In the same way, employers that only offer basic healthcare coverage don’t stand out to potential employees.
Employers are craving more diversification in healthcare plans from insurance carriers. By offering a holistic healthcare program that cares for physical, mental and medical wellbeing, insurance carriers will attract more employers. Employers will also appreciate the insurance carriers that care for their workplace wellness.
Strengthening Employer Relationships
By offering one-size-fits-all healthcare programs, insurance carriers lose the opportunity to form a relationship with their top employers. Diverse wellness programs will entice employers, but a customizable program will retain employers and encourage a stronger relationship with them. As employers customize the healthcare and wellness program that works best for them, insurance carriers can get to know their specific needs. Insurance carriers can increase their retention rates and help employers do the same.
The insurance carrier industry has been filled with the same healthcare benefits in recent years. While these healthcare benefits are necessary for both employers and employees, they no longer entice employers. Employers have found the importance of offering more than basic healthcare packages, by expanding their wellness programs and appreciating the increased attendance rate and productivity.
Insurance companies can lean into these employer trends and increase their competitive advantage by providing holistic wellness and fitness programs. By partnering with companies like Peerfit, insurance carriers can offer quality fitness programs, save money, and foster better relationships with employers. As employee fitness programs become more accessible, new life and competition will be breathed into the carrier industry