Why should employers offer health benefits?

employers offer health benefits Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Beyond salary, benefits are a big factor for attracting and retaining employees. Health benefits can help employers compete for and retain top talent. Health coverage also gives employees peace of mind they need to access healthcare

When unemployment rates are low, hiring skilled workers is tough. So is hiring entry-level workers. Based on data for the Seattle area in 2019, demand in several fields is approaching the same levels as tech.

How important are benefits in hiring?

Glassdoor survey showed job seekers looked for benefits in job ads. They cited attractive benefits and perks as the top factor in their decision to apply for a role.

Some perks, like endless snacks or fun outings, aren’t essential. They may actually be a warning to job applicants of a burnout-inducing pace.

The right health benefits show you care about employees’ wellbeing. They don’t want to think you only care about their output or the number of hours they spend at the office.

Jen Jones, director of compensation and benefits for Premera Blue Cross, agrees. “You can set yourself apart by creating a culture that values employees and their health. You'll reap the benefits of a workforce that is loyal and productive.”

Employers seem to agree with job seekers about the importance of health-related benefits. In a recent survey, 86 percent said health benefits are important or extremely important to their workforce. Only 3 percent reported decreasing benefits, despite rising healthcare costs.

How can the right health benefits help your employees?

Recruiting and retaining employees aren’t the only reasons employers offer health benefits. The right benefits support your employees’ health needs and don’t add to their stress when it’s time to use them.


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Financial stress factors into productivity and absenteeism. Health benefits can play a role by reducing out-of-pocket costs for employees when they need care.

Even combining medical and dental benefits can impact employees’ long-term health outlook. A Guardian Workplace Benefits Study found routine dental care helps detect serious health issues sooner. It’s linked to cardiovascular health and diabetes.

Early detection helps reduce healthcare costs for employers and employees – a win-win. That’s why studies find that combining dental and health coverage lowers total costs of care.

Another consideration is behavioral health care, including treatment for substance use disorders and mental health issues. Behavioral health conditions are incredibly common. Research from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association found major depression has the second greatest impact on overall health nationwide, behind only high blood pressure.

There’s always a need to make sure the cost of benefits is sustainable for your business. Investing in the right health benefits can not only support your employees’ health and well-being. It also boosts their confidence to contribute to your company for the long haul.

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