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How Employers Are Supporting Their Employees in Unprecedented Ways in 2022
By: Mike Roche, Director of Business Development
 
The past few years have tested the relationship between employers and employees for a multitude of reasons, including burnout and lack of health equity, and employers have been asked to step up in unprecedented ways to support the health and wellbeing of their employees. Although many have answered that call, the worker-employer relationship has ultimately become strained. 

According to Harvard Business Review:
  • 89% of workers said their work life was getting worse. 
  • 85% said that their overall well-being declined 
  • 56% said that their job demands had increased. 
Repairing the Employer-Worker Relationship 
Four out of five job losses during the pandemic were among the lowest quarter of wage earners. This McKinsey study suggests over 100 million people will need to find a new occupation by 2030. And while 40% of global workers will consider leaving their employer this year, 7 in 10 employers are struggling to find technically skilled candidates. 

Employers that support continuing education, allow flexible work arrangements, advance DEI and health equity initiatives, implement work-life balance policies, and improve access to high-value health care will improve this relationship.

Behavioral Telehealth Expansion 
With roughly one in five employees dealing with a mental health issue, behavioral health is becoming bigger than ever. Pre-pandemic, less than 2% of outpatient behavioral health claims were for virtual visits. Today, it’s closer to 25%.  

That’s a good sign, because as we’ve written, unchecked stress leads to poor health results. And while 89% of employers recognize the $44 billion dollar benefit of improving their employees’ mental health, workers still face access barriers – like transportation.

Still yet, the most obvious barrier is the cost. To be an employer of choice with a healthy and engaged workforce, many employers are offering behavioral health services at low- or no-cost – which is a great sign moving forward.

Virtual Health Care Options Galore 
Whether the pandemic wanes away or is here to stay, one thing’s for certain: it has transformed remote work. This new era is bringing more investment into technological innovation, and with that comes consumer expectations for personalized, virtual solutions to their health care needs. Here are some digital health trends in employee benefits to keep an eye on: 

Biometric screenings: Of employers that made changes to their biometric screenings, 20% moved to a digital platform. 

Health and Wellness Programs: According to a KFF survey, 50% of smaller organizations (50-199 employees) and 68% of larger organizations (more than 200 employees) reported changing their health and wellness programs: 
• 15% – 21% added a new digital program or digital content to their program. 
• 8% – 10% increased support for wearable devices. 
• 17% – 34% expanded or modified their programs to better address the health needs of remote workers. 

Remote Support: In a Mercer survey of 1,000 employers, 21% say they will add or enhance wellbeing initiatives specifically targeted for remote workers, and a quarter say they are addressing provider access issues that remote workers face. 
 

Digital Health Offerings: As previously mentioned, telehealth is now a standard expectation, and 72% of employers are taking it a step further by offering: 
  • Mindfulness and meditation apps 
  • Online stress management classes
  • Sleep improvement trackers 
  • Weight management apps
  • On-demand fitness solutions 
Using Data to Support Employees 
At the end of the day, changes to your employee health benefits should always be driven by your data – not just what’s trending. If you’re considering changes to your self-funded health plan, be sure to align all your vendors to review your goals this year, so everyone’s on the same page.  

Need help getting your vendors together or obtaining and interpreting your data? Contact me to get started.

 
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