How Workers Feel About Health Benefits: Benchmark Data Available!

If you’re not familiar with EBRI’s Health and Workplace Benefits Survey, allow me to introduce you. This annual household survey of working Americans provides valuable insights into health and welfare benefits from the perspective of the worker: what benefits they have and how well those benefits meet their needs. Employers surveying their own population on benefits can use these results for national benchmarks. Mercer is one of the survey sponsors; we believe it is an important complement to our own employer research.

The results are being released in a series of papers. This one focuses on how employees view their own health benefits and the US healthcare system in general. A few key takeaways for me:

  • Health benefits affect A&R success. 60% of workers say health insurance is extremely important when considering whether to stay in or choose a new job. (By contrast, only 42% say that about their retirement savings plan.) One-half of workers are extremely or very satisfied with their health plans; 39% are only somewhat satisfied and 10% are dissatisfied.
  • Healthcare spending affects employees’ financial wellness. Just 30% of workers overall say they are confident they could pay for any necessary healthcare without financial hardship. About half say their spending on healthcare has risen in the past year, and more than a quarter of these respondents say that, as a result, they have difficulty paying for other basic necessities like housing and food. 
  • Healthcare is a big concern. Over half of workers see the US healthcare system as poor or fair, and 31% rank healthcare as the most critical issue in the US.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Depending on what you need to know, you may find other results to be even more compelling. Understanding how employees view health benefits is critical both in designing an attractive program and in making them partners in managing cost and improving productivity.

Beth Umland
by Beth Umland

Director of Research, Health, Mercer

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