Exploring the Future of Employee Benefits

Blog by Chris Burns

I recently attended a meeting of the Northeast Business Group on Health in New York City, an employer-led coalition of benefits leaders and healthcare stakeholders. Its mission is to empower members to drive excellence in healthcare programming and achieve the highest value in the consumer experience.

Below are some viewpoints and perspectives that I gained from participating in several sessions, which may help you navigate the current and future landscape of employee benefits.

“American Employers are the Engines of Innovation in Healthcare”

This session noted that more than half of all Americans, roughly 160 million people, continue to obtain health insurance through their employers. This means that employers have the greatest opportunity to change our healthcare system for the better. But to do so, they must confront and act upon the twin challenges of high cost and the need for more positive outcomes. The conclusion of the session was that employers should focus greater emphasis on prevention, value-based care and driving innovation in new technologies that achieve greater efficiencies.

“Don’t take a Header on HDHPs”

Most large employers offer High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) as viable employee benefit options, with some positioning them at the center of their benefits strategies. Experience has shown that employees enrolled in HDHPs are more likely than those in traditional plans to consider healthcare costs and quality when selecting non-emergency care. HDHP enrollees were also more likely to take preventive measures to preserve health, including enrolling in wellness programs. One concern is that while there are many positive behaviors associated with HDHPs, about 30% of enrollees will delay health care services due to costs.

“Avoid Workplace Wipeout: The Future is Now”

The American workplace now includes as many as five generations working side by side. Clearly, this means that a one-size-fits-all benefits strategy is like having no strategy at all. Complicating matters is the fact that employee populations as a whole are aging, and the pool of new talent is lagging optimum replacement levels in many industries. Clearly, employers must develop new ways to attract and retain qualified employees through innovative benefit programs. Further, offering a wider range of choices in employee benefits to address the needs of the diverse generations making up today’s workforce can be an important differentiator for attracting and retaining productive employees.

I left this meeting not only excited about the opportunities of an evolving employee benefits marketplace, but also more convinced than ever that Vertus is uniquely positioned to deliver profitable growth through superior client service in a changing benefits environment.

About the Author:

Chris Burns is a Principal at Vertus. With over 35 years of diverse experience in the employee benefits, healthcare, digital health and retirement industry in the U.S. as well as globally, Chris contributes great expertise and depth to the suite of professional services.