Healthcare Coverage is the Most Important Benefit for Job Seekers

Sep 18, 2019
| Michael Altiero

Employee benefits play a critical role in talent attraction and retention, especially in today’s competitive job market.

To help recruit new talent and keep current employees happy, employers of all sizes continue to add new benefits and workplace perks to keep up with trends and expectations.

But one traditional employee benefit in particular continues to be seen as must have for employees and job seekers today – healthcare benefits.

New survey data from Lively shows just how important health insurance is to job seekers today when considering whether or not to work for an employer.

The Importance of Healthcare Benefits

Lively’s 2019 Wellness & Wealth Report, which surveyed 1,000 randomly selected U.S. adults, uncovered data around how today’s job seekers and employees view healthcare and health insurance.

The results uncovered 4 key findings around employee benefits and healthcare:
  • Healthcare coverage is the most important benefit
  • Employees don’t fully understand their employee benefits
  • Americans struggle with physical and financial health
  • Healthcare costs surprise many employees

Survey takers were asked to rank their top 3 employee benefits from a list of potential choices. 76% listed healthcare coverage in their top 3, more than any other benefit choice.

Additionally, 37% said that it is the most important benefit, also higher than any other employee benefit.

The other top benefits as chosen by U.S. workers were:
  • Competitive salary – around 65%
  • 401(k) – around 55%
  • Cash bonuses – around 30%
  • Unlimited PTO – around 22%
  • Wellness programs – 15%

With healthcare costs rising, smaller employers are often impacted the most. But exploring alternative HR solutions, such as outsourcing to a PEO, can help small employers offer the same quantity and quality benefits as much larger employers, while often saving on open-market costs.

Employee Understanding and Thoughts on Their Benefits

Numerous studies and reports have revealed mix results when it comes to how well employees today understand the benefits that are offered to them.

The date from Lively revealed data on how employees understand their benefits as a whole, as well as their retirement benefits.

For employee benefits:
  • 32% somewhat understand
  • 30% completely understand
  • 30% do not receive their benefits from their employer
  • 7% do not understand well
  • 1% don’t understand at all

Overall, the results were mixed, which highlights the need for employers to offering training and assistance when it comes to benefit offerings.

Retirement benefits also saw mixed levels of understand, though not as much as with employee benefits in general:
  • 42% completely understand
  • 38% somewhat understand
  • 11% do not understand well
  • 9% do not understand at all

Additionally, 46% of men compared to 37% of women said they completely understand 401(k)s.

And another key finding is that around 30% of Americans said that they completely understand their health-related employee benefits.

Healthcare Trends and Costs

Next, the survey explored the reasons workers go to the doctor. Just 54% say they go regularly or preventatively, while 28% said they only go when sick. However, 18% only go to the doctor for extreme emergencies.

The survey then shifts to healthcare costs, with 75% of American workers saying that they are surprised by how much their medical bills are.

And last, almost 33% of employees said that they do not know how much of their paycheck goes into healthcare costs.

Employers Can Help Employees Better Understand Healthcare Benefits

The rising cost of healthcare in the United States is a burden that is often shared by employers and their employees. But even small employers can explore options to help ease the costs and stress of health insurance benefits.

Additionally, employers can help their workforce better understand their benefit offerings by providing the educational resources necessary, such as in-person and on-demand training.

Doing so can help employees get the most out of the benefits offered to them by employers.

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