Healthcare benefits are incredibly important to American employees, as a staggering 49% of workers receive healthcare through their employer. But there’s a wide variety of the types of healthcare that employers offer their workers, ranging from the micro to the macro.
Studies consistently show that healthcare benefits are among the most important considerations when employees are trying to make a decision about where they want to work. Healthcare seems to heavily influence peoples’ choices to switch jobs to go with an employer who offers better healthcare. One study found that when asked to pick between a high paying job and a slightly lower paying job that offered some benefits, employees ranked healthcare at the top of the list for conditions that would either warrant “heavy consideration” or “some consideration.”
Clearly, healthcare can convince employees to stay with, or leave an employer. But what types of healthcare make some companies retain a higher proportion of their employees while others consistently lose them?
Essential Healthcare Benefits for Employees
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 uses a “carrot and stick” approach to encourage employers to provide healthcare to their employees. Companies with more than 50 full-time workers are penalized for failing to provide what the government deems as “affordable coverage.” The government also makes it easier for businesses and individuals to shop for healthcare plans and options, by aggregating and standardizing information about all eligible plans.
The government requires that all organizations with more than 50 employees provide a plan that covers “essential health benefits.” As defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), essential health benefits are:
- Ambulatory patient services
- Emergency services
- Maternity and newborn care
- Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment
- Prescription drugs
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
- Laboratory services
- Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
- Pediatric services, including oral and vision care
This is the baseline list for employer sponsored healthcare. However, it’s important to remember that this list doesn’t tell the full story. While all healthcare plans must cover these areas in some way, it doesn’t mean that they have to fully pay for all of them.
Dental coverage is often a highly sought-after perk. Although the ACA covers pediatric dental care, it doesn’t cover adult oral care, making it hard for many employees to keep their teeth clean and healthy. Dental care is often seen as a cosmetic bonus, which each individual should be expected to pay for themself.
If you as an employer can afford to offer dental care, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to stand out from the pack. Although most plans already include insurance for dental or orthodontic disasters, routine dental care for adults is often not paid for by baseline insurance.
Almost 3 out of every 4 Americans have some kind of vision impairment, according to a recent study. However vision is not automatically covered by most healthcare plans, and ACA approved healthcare doesn’t have to pay for adult vision services.
Just like dental, vision insurance is generally bundled together as a package deal, but is often not offered by employer sponsored health insurance plans.
Studies show that vision is important to employees. With 183 million U.S. adults in the market for glasses and contacts, there’s huge demand for this kind of financial help. 85% of adults say that they want vision care coverage, and 91% of consumers see vision benefits as either “important” or “very important.”
Low Deductible Healthcare
Another viable option to help attract or keep employees is simply improving the financial quality of the healthcare that you already offer. High deductible healthcare plans can sometimes discourage employees from using their health insurance, because they are afraid to pay out of pocket. It can be useful to consider lower deductible plans that also provide higher levels of coverage after the deductible has been met.
Make sure that the base plan that you offer is really serving your employees well, and that they’re getting the care they need. Offering novel solutions can be extremely useful, but maybe the most powerful thing you can do is to make sure that your employees have peace of mind.
Another big healthcare problem for many Americans, both those covered by their employers insurance and those who are not, is the issue of being able to afford to pay out of pocket.
Even great healthcare plans usually require some level of employee money up front, either when the medical service is provided, or at a later date. Because so many Americans have so little in their savings and safety net accounts, it’s hard for a lot of people to manage a $500-$1,000 upfront cost.
medZero’s zero interest medical funding solution is aimed at solving this problem. By offering employees a way to cover these unpredictable expenses, we hope to be able to do our part to make healthcare in America a little more fair and equitable.
medZERO is unlocking a smarter way for employees to pay for care. Find out how.