Despite significant increases in health care insurance premiums (9% in 2016 versus 6% in 2015), a new study from Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) conducted by Harris Poll shows that employers are optimistic about delivering robust employee benefits.
Even with the seemingly endless premium hikes, the number of midsize employers offering health benefits to part-time employees has nearly doubled since 2013, standing at 26% in 2016 versus 13% in 2013. In addition, more than half of employers expect wages and profitability to increase in the next one to two years.
This year's survey also found a continued interest in workplace wellness programs among both employers and employees, TCHS observes. A large majority of employers say their workplace wellness program positively impacts workers' health (82%), and productivity and performance (80%). Employers also reported that their workplace wellness program positively impacts health care costs (72%).
“Our survey results reflect optimism both in terms of companies' financial stability and ability to provide health benefit packages,” saysTCHS Executive Director Hector De La Torre. “In previous years, the cost of providing health insurance to employees was a top concern, and while it remains a primary issue, employers are increasingly interested in adding new benefits such as workplace wellness programs.”
Overall, TCHS finds four in five employers reported their company is concerned about the affordability of health insurance and health care expenses. However, among employees, about half say their company is concerned about these areas.
Regarding the ongoing influence of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), companies are less likely to alter their benefit offerings to avoid the Cadillac tax when compared to the 2015 TCHS survey. Of the companies that say they are at risk for paying the Cadillac tax, approximately seven in 10 are planning to make changes to avoid paying it.
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