Current economic environment is driving employees to make financial and healthcare benefits trade-offs that may upend their own health and wellbeing
Respondents highly value their benefits, but struggle with understanding and managing their overall healthcare costs
Employers offering and underwriting benefits can empower employees' physical and emotional wellbeing through promotion of cost-supporting benefits and literacy education
DENVER, Oct. 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Elevate, the next generation consumer-directed benefits platform, today announced the results of a survey of employees at major private-sector organizations (2,500+ employees) to understand the benefits users' state of mind for the 2023 enrollment season. Including 775+ respondents, the survey revealed that most employees are financially stressed, leading them to rein in discretionary spending and healthy living expenses, with some even skimping on both elective and necessary medical care.
With inflation impacting employee wallets and a deeper recession expected in 2023, financial wellbeing is a major concern, with 65% of respondents looking to cut discretionary spending, focusing instead on necessities. From a healthcare perspective, cutting back sometimes means simply avoiding care altogether, with 28% of employees putting off a screening or wellness check, and 14% postponing a necessary medical procedure or delaying filling a prescription.
Eighty-eight percent of respondents believe benefits support their financial security, and 78% rank being prepared for out-of-pocket healthcare costs as important or most important to them. But perception, lack of benefits knowledge and literacy can drive inappropriate benefits selections, impacting employee wellbeing and driving up employer costs. Almost half of respondents want benefits options they perceive as affordable, though about one-third don't consider all the costs of coverage when making benefits elections.
"Many employers do genuinely understand the financial burden employees are facing within the broader macroeconomic climate. But any amount of employees postponing wellness visits and screenings should be concerning for employers," said Brian Cosgray, CEO and co-founder, Elevate. "Suboptimal benefits decisions, no matter how well-intentioned, will eventually impact both the employee and employer in healthcare costs and impact in employee presence, engagement and productivity."
These findings highlight the need for more education about the total cost of healthcare, including contributions, out-of-pocket costs like copays and coinsurance, and out-of-pocket maximums to help support appropriate elections, and especially the use of tax-advantaged accounts to prepare for necessary healthcare costs. Healthcare savings accounts can be key to affordability and preparedness, helping employees balance their choice of healthcare plan with appropriate saving for costs they are responsible for covering.
Quick access and ease of use also ranked highly as factors as employees consider as they choose benefits, since employees want to ensure that they don't tie up their money waiting for reimbursement when they use tax-advantaged healthcare accounts. Antiquated systems can't provide reimbursement at the speed needed and can seriously hamper employee participation. A majority of respondents (63%) want immediate reimbursement from their healthcare account. The speed of reimbursement has a definite impact, as 40% are juggling the cost of healthcare with other necessary expenses.
This benefits season will be a critical time for benefits managers to ensure their systems are set up so that employees have what they need to stay healthy, both physically and financially. Benefits technologies should be simple to use with design features that appeal to a multigenerational workforce, allowing them to easily navigate, understand, enroll and save through tax advantaged accounts.
"The findings from this survey clearly show employees' state of mind and wallets as they weigh their upcoming benefits decisions," said Cosgray. "Having modern technologies in place, ensures employers are empowering their employees to choose and use their benefits wisely impacting their physical, emotional and financial wellbeing in the short and long term."
To download the full summary report visit: Elevate 2022 Pulse Report: Benefits Decisions.
About the Survey
The blind survey, which was conducted online in August 2022 by Centiment who polled U.S. respondents who are employed at organizations with 2,500 or more employees or more and who must be covered/using benefits provided by their/an employer who cross industry sectors (not including public sector). The survey reached 775+ respondents.
Elevate makes life easier for employers and employees by bringing innovation, simplicity, and security to HSA, HRA, FSA, commuter benefits and more. With Elevate, employees can easily view, plan and manage their pre-tax benefits from a single intuitive dashboard, whether on the web or mobile. All benefits can be accessed and delivered through one contactless card. Claims are processed instantly, and reimbursement takes place within minutes. For more information, visit www.elevate.inc.
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