Study Finds 65% of Workers Would Give Up Bonuses, Vacation, and Flexible Hours for Better Healthcare Benefits

A new study by One Medical, a leading national member-based primary care organization combining in-person and virtual care, and Workplace Intelligence, an HR research and advisory firm, found that best-in-class healthcare benefits will be extremely important following the pandemic. The study of over 1,600 U.S. employees and HR leaders found that workers are eager to get back on track with their health after an enormously stressful and demanding year, and identified significant opportunities for employers to support them through improvement in healthcare benefit offerings.

Many employees said their physical and mental well-being worsened during the pandemic. Over half (54%) skipped or postponed getting healthcare for themselves and 33% deferred care for their children, with most citing fears of contracting COVID-19 as a top reason for postponing care. Consequently, nearly half of respondents have experienced adverse outcomes as a result of having to postpone medical care.

HR Technology News: African Development Bank Coding For Employment Program Marks Milestone: 130,000 Users Across Africa

Employees’ current focus on their health was further exemplified by 65% saying they would give up key perks like bonuses, vacation, and flexible hours for better healthcare benefits. Moreover, employees expect their employers to support them, not only by providing better benefits, but also by ensuring that they have access to best-in-class primary care providers who can guide them on their journey to better physical and mental health.

The high price of deferred care

While 85% of the employees surveyed intend to see their primary care providers at least once per year after the pandemic, it’s apparent that deferred care has already taken a heavy toll on workers:

  • Adverse health outcomes: Employees say deferring care made them feel anxious and worried (55%), negatively affected their physical health (45%) and mental health (49%), negatively impacted their ability to work (44%), caused them to lose sleep (43%), and caused them to struggle with substance abuse (42%).
  • Cost consequences: The vast majority of HR leaders are worried about employees’ health worsening this year (86%) and the cost of employee healthcare increasing (88%) as a result of deferred care. Over three-quarters (78%) predict that the costs of their healthcare benefits will increase in 2022, by 7.5% on average.
  • New HR solutions: Nearly all HR leaders (97%) say they’ll be making changes to help reduce cascading healthcare costs, including employing care navigation solutions, investing in virtual care / telemedicine and/or primary care, and identifying new services to address rising areas of costs.

HR Technology News: Alta Resources Recognized By Forbes Amongst Best Mid-Sized Employers In 2021 List

Employee expectations vs. HR leader perceptions

While 85% of HR leaders believed their company is invested in the physical and mental health of its workforce, just 32% of employees rated their healthcare benefits as “excellent” and less than two-thirds believe their company is invested in their physical health (64%) and mental health (63%). Employees and HR leaders indicated that better healthcare benefits could be achieved through:

  • Prioritizing better health care: 65% of employees say they would give up perks like flexible hours, monetary bonuses, and paid vacation in exchange for best-in-class healthcare benefits.
  • Improving affordability, convenience, and quality: The vast majority of workers noted the importance of affordability (89%), ease of using their benefits (89%), top quality and trustworthy providers (87%), fast (86%) and convenient (82%) access to in-person care, a focus on preventive health (85%), and seamless specialty care coordination (82%).
  • Addressing cost issues: Over half (55%) of employees and the same percentage of HR leaders say their health care is too costly. Over three-quarters (76%) of employees and 87% of HR leaders think companies should cover “more” or “all” of employees’ healthcare costs.
  • Focusing on primary care: There’s already widespread agreement on the importance of primary care: 80% of employees and 89% of HR leaders say it’s important to see a primary care provider on a regular basis. However, on average 80% of employees and over 90% of HR leaders say that in addition to routine care, primary care providers should play a significant role in coordinating specialist care and hospitalization, offering advice on health promotion and disease prevention, and providing mental health care.

“The importance of prioritizing employees’ physical and mental health is clearer than ever before. We’ve seen many companies take significant steps to build a healthcare strategy centered around primary care, including preventive care and chronic care management. Not only can this approach lead to a happier, healthier and more supported workforce, it can also help address the adverse health outcomes and rising healthcare costs that have resulted from the pandemic.” – Raj Behal, MD, Chief Quality Officer, One Medical

“Coming out of the pandemic, workers are prioritizing health care much more and as evidence of this, many would even give up perks and benefits like bonuses, flexible hours and vacation for better healthcare benefits. Companies that prioritize the health of their workforce and invest in better healthcare benefits will be more likely to retain their workers in this highly competitive talent marketplace.” – Dan Schawbel, Managing Partner of Workplace Intelligence

HR Technology News: Build Your Future Launches New Website Geared For Generation Z