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Knowing What Matters Most to Employees: The Importance of Healthcare


It’s probably no surprise to hear that healthcare benefits matter to your employees. How much they matter is more likely the bigger question. Eighty-nine percent of surveyed employees* think that employer-sponsored healthcare is equally as important as getting a salary. What’s more, 63% of surveyed employees said that benefits play a factor in their choice to stay with their current job.

Healthcare costs are forever on the rise these days, but (sadly) on the flip side wages are standing still. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, healthcare deductibles have increased seven times faster than wages in the last decade. So it is no wonder that employees are looking for jobs that will help offset stagnant wages by covering necessary medical costs. That said, even when group healthcare is offered it sometimes still doesn’t meet the mark for employees. Employer cost-reduction strategies – such as cost-shifting and moving to high deductible health plans (HDHPs) – are making it incredibly difficult for some consumers to pay, resulting in overuse of credit or avoiding medical care altogether.

It’s a competitive world in today’s job market, especially for budget-restricted nonprofits. Finding and keeping talented staff means thinking more creatively when it comes to healthcare, beyond simply signing with the same broker and carrier year-after-year. You must be able to provide a strong benefits package to support overall compensation and a productive, healthy staff. But knowing where to start on the journey to providing better health insurance can be a tricky endeavor as the beast of employer-sponsored healthcare may feel overwhelming to an already stretched-thin administrative or human resources department.

Our recommendation? Start with a meaningful, open dialog between leadership and employees about what is most important to both sides when it comes to staff health and wellbeing. Ensure your board understands the current health plan and how employees use it (or reasons why they don’t use it), and tap into the experiences of your staff to learn how they could be better served through your organization’s health plan. And keep in mind that while the ACA has its growing pains, it also has opened the door for innovation, primarily in the way healthcare is delivered and funded. Be careful not to dismiss new opportunities before exploring all of your options.

For more specific tips on how to start an open discussion with your leadership team and employees about making your healthcare offerings even better, download our guide!

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* Results from Mercer’s Inside Employees Minds™ Survey of 3,000 US workers

The information and materials herein are provided for general information purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal or other advice or opinions on any specific matters and are not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney, plan provider or other professional advisor. This information has been taken from sources believed to be reliable, but there is no guarantee as to its accuracy. This communication does not constitute a legal opinion and should not be relied upon for any purpose other than its intended educational purpose.

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