LOS ANGELES, Dec. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite significant increases in healthcare insurance premiums (9 percent in 2016 vs. 6 percent in 2015), a new study from Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) conducted by Harris Poll found that employers are optimistic about the ability to provide robust benefit packages to employees. In fact, the number of midsize employers offering health benefits to part-time employees has nearly doubled since 2013 (26 percent in 2016 vs. 13 percent in 2013). Plus, more than half of employers expect wages (57 percent) and profitability (65 percent) to increase in the next one to two years.
This year's survey also found a continued interest in workplace wellness programs among both employers and employees. A large majority of employers say their workplace wellness program positively impacts workers' health (82 percent), and productivity and performance (80 percent). Employers also reported that their workplace wellness program positively impacts healthcare costs (72 percent).
"Our survey results reflect optimism both in terms of companies' financial stability and ability to provide health benefit packages," said TCHS Executive Director Hector De La Torre. "In previous years, the cost of providing health insurance to employees was a top concern, and while it remains a primary issue, employers are increasingly interested in adding new benefits such as workplace wellness programs."
Healthcare Cost Concerns
Four in five employers reported their company is concerned about the affordability of health insurance (80 percent) and healthcare expenses (78 percent). However, just more than half of employees said their company is concerned about these same areas (57 percent and 52 percent, respectively).
Companies are less likely to alter their benefit offerings to avoid the Cadillac tax when compared to the 2015 TCHS survey. Of the companies that say they are at risk for paying the Cadillac tax, approximately seven in 10 are planning to make changes to avoid paying it.
Perception on Benefits
More than four in five (84 percent) employers agree that healthcare benefits are important for attracting and retaining employees. About the same number (88 percent) of employees believe healthcare benefits are important to their overall job satisfaction. While nearly one in five (19 percent) companies plan on changing their plan options in the next one to two years, one-third (31 percent) do not expect to make any changes. Altering plan options (31 percent) and implementing a wellness program (16 percent) are the two most commonly reported changes across all company sizes.
Wellness Program Offerings
Wellness program offerings continue to rise among employers – 28 percent of employers have implemented wellness programs for their employees in the past 12 months (a steady increase from 23 percent in 2014 and 25 percent in 2015). However, the survey found an ongoing disconnect between employers and employees in terms of employees' knowledge of benefits and the perception of leadership commitment to wellness. More than half (55 percent) of employers offer wellness programs, but only 46 percent of employees say they work for an employer that offers wellness options. Consistent with the 2015 TCHS survey, more than 80 percent of employers feel their leadership is committed to improving the health of their employees, but only one-third of employees feel the same way.
SHOP Marketplace Awareness
Employer awareness of Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplaces is at a low since 2014. Approximately half (54 percent) of small businesses are aware of SHOP Marketplaces, three in 10 know how to access SHOP coverage for their employees and only 29 percent have heard about the SHOP Marketplace in their state.
See the attached fact sheet about employer attitudes toward the employer mandate and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
ABOUT THE SURVEY
The employee survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of the Transamerica Center for Health Studies. It was a 20-minute online survey among 1,502 employer decision-makers ages 18 and up, including 710 who work for small businesses (less than 50 full-time employees), 446 who work for midsize companies (50-499 full-time employees) and 346 who work for large companies (500 or more full-time employees). Qualified respondents were primary decision-makers of employee benefits at their company, employed by or the proprietor of a for-profit (non-educational) organization, and owner, CEO/Chairman, Director of HR, Benefits Manager, other HR professional responsible for employee benefits, or other professional responsible for employee benefits. The survey was conducted from August 29 to September 13, 2016.
ABOUT THE TRANSAMERICA CENTER FOR HEALTH STUDIES®
Transamerica Center for Health Studies® (TCHS) – a division of the Transamerica Institute® – is focused on empowering consumers and employers to achieve the best value and protection from their health coverage, as well as the best outcomes in their personal health and wellness.
TCHS engages with the American public through national surveys, its website, research findings and consumer guidance. TCHS also collaborates with healthcare experts and organizations that are equally focused on health coverage and personal health and wellness. The Transamerica Institute® is a nonprofit, private foundation funded by contributions from Transamerica Life Insurance Company and its affiliates, as well as unaffiliated third parties. None of the contributors are major medical insurers.
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SOURCE Transamerica Center for Health Studies