If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we need to put health first. Overall, health extends beyond the home and is influenced by factors in our local community, work, and by government policy. Employee health is a matter of both moral and financial imperative. When employers invest in the health of their employees, results can be seen in higher productivity and business outcomes. Healthier employees are less likely to burn out, feel overwhelmed, and ultimately find other work. And, when looking to hire teams, employers can better attract potential top talent by building a benefits package that demonstrates to potential employees that their health matters.
According to NetSuite, “Effective employee retention can save an organization from productivity losses. High-retention workplaces tend to employ more engaged workers who, in turn, get more done. Engaged employees are more likely to improve customer relationships, and teams with time to coalesce also tend to be more productive.”
In 2018, a survey showed that 56% of U.S. adults with employer-sponsored health benefits stated that their health coverage was a key factor in deciding to stay at their current employer or find a new job. And 46% stated that health insurance was a deciding factor in choosing their current job.
When asked what employees look for in healthcare, here are the top 5 drivers toward healthcare satisfaction identified in the survey:
Employees want to know that they’re covered, no matter what happens. Comprehensive coverage refers to a health plan that provides broad coverage of a wide range of healthcare services, such as physician visits, hospitalization, and emergency room visits. Covered care should be both preventive and in response to injury or illness. With more comprehensive coverage, employees can focus on what matters: staying healthy, happy, and productive.
Affordability is subjective from an employee’s perspective, but also has a government-defined standard. Under the federal Affordable Care Act’s (“ACA”) employer mandate, large employers must offer “affordable” coverage that provides at least minimum value or face a financial penalty. There are various methods for passing the “affordability” test under the ACA. One way to pass is for the employer to offer coverage where the employee’s portion of the premiums doesn’t exceed a certain percentage of the employee’s household income for covering just themselves. The percentage is indexed to inflation and changes annually. In 2022, that percentage is 9.61%. If it’s more than 9.61%, an employee gains access to premium subsidies in the exchange if they want to buy an individual market plan instead.
Choice of Providers
Employees want a wide range of “in-network” providers. This allows them a choice while guaranteeing the lowest cost possible for their care. “In-Network” providers have a lower out-of-pocket cost for employees than out-of-network providers, so employees want to seek and find their providers in-network. In addition, people build relationships with their providers, and choice allows them to see a provider that they feel most connected with. Penn Medicine reported that based on a survey conducted between 2014 and 2017, when patients saw a provider with the same racial or ethnic background, they were more likely to give the maximum patient rating score. “Our data highlights why it’s more important than ever to have a diverse physician workforce who looks like all the different types of patients we take care of, including different genders and different races,” Sawinski said. As employers, it’s key to provide employees the opportunity to see health care providers they trust and who they can relate to. Only then will employees experience the best healthcare outcomes.
Ease of communication, payment, and quality are all factors that contribute to the consistency of a health plan. Employees should be informed about their coverage and know who to contact if they have questions. One of the major reasons that health insurance is underutilized is confusion or opacity around the extent of coverage. Employees with consistently high quality insurance are more likely to take advantage of their plans and achieve greater health care outcomes.
Free Preventative Services
When your employees are sick, they lose concentration, persistence, and focus, which reduces productivity, employee satisfaction, and business outcomes. Research shows that businesses lose millions of dollars annually due to absenteeism and presenteeism, decreased productivity caused by health issues, and other factors. Absenteeism costs U.S. employers roughly $3,600 per year for each hourly worker and $2,660 each year for salaried employees. This can be prevented by proactive health measures that ensure the continuing well-being of your employees.
Conversely, survey respondents identified the largest determinants of employee dissatisfaction with their health benefits. They are:
One of the major factors that influence the underutilization of health benefits is concerns about costs. “[In 2021] Nearly a third of Americans [triple the share since March] say they’ve skipped medical care for a health problem in the previous three months due to concerns about the cost, according to a new study from Gallup and West Health.” Further, adults in worse health (reported as having fair or poor health status) and the uninsured are much more likely than others to delay or forgo health care due to costs. As employers, to ensure that your employees are healthy, selecting a plan where they don’t have to worry about costs is paramount.
Employees likely want to know that their coverage extends to their needed services and prescriptions. With concerns over deductibles and unexpected expenses, employees are dissatisfied when their coverage falls short of what they need for routine and specialty care.
As we mentioned, it is crucial to have a robust network of providers from which employees can choose a provider that meets their needs. But, if the network falls short, employees may seek care out-of-network. Out-of-network care includes providers within the region but not contracted and providers outside the area where the plan operates. Suppose a provider an employee wants to see is not in network. In that case, they may fear the unexpected costs that come with seeing that provider, ultimately resulting in them not utilizing their benefits and receiving care.
U.S. healthcare can be confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. The insurance industry is riddled with complex terminology, long documents detailing specifics around coverage, and a lack of transparency around final costs. Coupled with medical distrust, especially in predominantly minority and lower-income communities, there may be a lack of knowledge around health care access and preventative measures that can be taken to aid in overall well-being. The clarity in communication, pricing, and services is key to reducing confusion for patients.
Lack of choices
People are healthier when they have a say in their health care and feel empowered to make decisions that affect their outcomes. According to a 2017 study, “Patient preferences are essential to good clinical care because the patient’s cooperation and satisfaction reflect the degree to which medical intervention fulfills his or her choices, values, and needs.” Employees who have more choices between health plans, providers, services, and prescriptions are healthier, happier, and more fulfilled.
To attract and retain top talent, employers should offer plan options that focus on high-quality, comprehensive coverage that is transparent, simple to understand, and easy to use. Employers should avoid plans with unexpected costs, lack of communication, and lack of choices. Outdated health plans have perpetuated the underutilization of benefits, especially in preventative care, resulting in reduced employee health care outcomes and greater longterm costs.
How does Curative improve employee satisfaction? Through cost transparency, , an emphasis on choice with one of the most comprehensive provider networks in the Austin region, and a patient-first experience.
Our no copay, no deductibles* health insurance plan meets the needs of employees and provides value to employers. Starting in Austin, Texas, but soon expanding, Curative is the first large-group insurance carrier to successfully enter the Texas market in several decades. The Curative health plan is available to employers with 51+ employees in the Austin metro area.
With an annual Baseline Visit, the Curative health plan only requires one competitive monthly premium. Members will receive free and unlimited access to a high-quality preferred provider network together with a centrally located health and wellness center. Its extensive network includes major providers such as the Austin Regional Clinic, Austin Diagnostic Clinic, and St. David’s Medical Center facilities.
To learn more about Curative’s health plan, please visit: https://curative.com/healthplan
*Curative members are eligible for no copays and no deductibles if they complete a Baseline Visit within 120 days of their enrollment.
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