Medical benefits are often seen as one of the expected and desirable benefits of working a full-time job. It’s standard practice for any large to mid-sized company. Basic health care benefits are offered by 88% of large and mid-sized businesses today. As our understanding of overall wellness evolves, the demand for wellness benefits to be part of the health care benefits package is only increasing.
Wellness benefits help employees not only take care of their medical needs, but their mental and physical health needs as well. Companies often build their own wellness program, but as demand increases and wellness evolves, employers are looking to insurance companies to offer these benefits.
What Do Wellness Benefits Entail?
A well-rounded wellness program can help employers offer their team members many resources outside of basic healthcare. These resources can help to reduce stress, lose weight, quit smoking, increase physical activity, and more. This is to promote a better quality of life and work/life balance.
Many employers build their employee wellness programs by partnering with wellness companies like Peerfit. Peerfit gives employees access to gyms and fitness programs that cater to them, often paid for by their insurance. By partnering with wellness companies, employers can more easily build a wellness program that works by providing a variety of engagement opportunities for their employees.
By 2019, 84% of large employers offered a workplace wellness program, and the demand has only increased since the COVID-19 pandemic. Insurance carriers have already begun to adopt wellness benefits as a baseline to their packaged benefits offerings, as this continues to trend, robust wellness benefits will become the differentiating factor in medical benefits in the coming years. Insurance companies will have to learn to better navigate the world of wellness. Here are just a few of the top reasons why wellness benefits are being prioritized by employers:
1. Wellness Programs Entice Top Talent
While many companies try to entice top talent with higher pay, employees are more intrigued by better benefits. It was found that 60% of employees will choose a job with lower pay, but with better benefits, rather than a job with higher pay. Millennials and Generation Z are also placing higher priorities on benefits like overtime and paid vacation.
As companies try to lower their turnover rate, attract the next generation of employees, and hire and retain top talent, they are offering quality benefits that employees value. They are also shifting focus from offering basic health care benefits and beginning to support overall employee health and wellbeing.
2. Employers Can Create a Positive Work Environment
Creating positive work environments has greatly increased employee satisfaction and productivity. Employees that enjoy their job and have a positive work/life balance are 12% more productive. This is because employees can prioritize their health and well-being.
When companies want to increase their employee productivity, they often raise their expectations for employees. This comes at the expense of the quality of their work. When Google implemented more employee support and prioritized job satisfaction, their productivity rose by 37% without sacrificing the quality of work. Employees turn to wellness benefits to increase their productivity because it is a complimentary resource to the way they live their lives.
3. Employers Save on Health Care Costs
While wellness and health programs can increase immediate expenses for companies, wellness programs ultimately save companies more on health care costs in the long haul. Basic health care benefits help employees handle medical issues as they arise. Wellness programs act as a preventative measure to reduce medical costs.
Wellness programs often reduce employee stress, provide medical screenings, and encourage employees to prioritize their personal wellbeing. These aspects of wellness programs provide early detection for illnesses and help to reduce issues that may be caused by stress. When stress is not sufficiently managed, it can cause headaches and irritability at first. If elongated, stress can cause heart disease or high blood pressure. By preventing these issues, workplace wellness programs reduce 25% of their health care costs.
4. Employers Prevent Burnout
In April of 2021, 4 million people resigned from their jobs. This mass exodus of employees has been named The Great Resignation. Many issues led to The Great Resignation, but 81% of employers named employee burnout as a main challenge in the workforce.
Employees experience high amounts of stress when taking on more than their mental or physical health can handle. Many employees began to feel this during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the beginning of the pandemic, stress levels rose and people began to work from home. They also had to manage the same or even an increased workload.
Employers are now attempting to reduce the risk of employee burnout. They are offering longer vacations, lighter workloads, and encouraging employee engagement with team-building activities. Companies are using wellness programs to actively prevent burnout by making employees feel valued and heard, which ultimately increases retention rates.
What's Next for Insurance Providers?
Employers are realizing the advantage of employee wellness programs. That is why they are searching for the easiest ways to implement the best wellness benefits. They are turning to insurance providers and their brokers to offer baked-in wellness programs with their basic health care plans. This way, employers will not have to build a wellness plan from scratch to support employees.
Some of the top insurance providers offer wellness programs today. Insurance carriers will have to upgrade their basic health care plans to include wellness programs to stay relevant and competitive in today’s market.
If insurance carriers do not offer basic health care benefits, they will lose employer interest. As employers begin to reap the benefits of employee wellness programs, insurance carriers can upgrade their offers, gain more customers, and create a stronger partnership with employers.