Employee benefits – 6 trends for 2022

Employee benefits – 6 trends for 2022

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1. Healthcare costs expected to increase 6.5%

According to a study by PriceWaterhouseCooper, health costs in 2022 will increase 6.5%–slightly less than the 7% increase in 2021.  Among the reasons for the increases are greater utilization by consumers who deferred care during the pandemic, along with investments in technology by healthcare providers. Another emerging 

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1. Healthcare costs expected to increase 6.5%

trend: consumers are becoming more active in their own healthcare journeys, which is expected to help curb spending long-term.  Businesses that help employees with their health and wellness will be positioned to reap the benefits of fewer medical claims from a more informed, healthier workforce.

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2. Employers offering more voluntary benefits

When it comes to benefits administration, employers are constantly looking for efficiencies, treading carefully between cutting costs while still remaining competitive.  That’s where voluntary benefits can help. Employee pay-all benefits are expected to play a greater role after the pandemic according to the Society For Human Resources 

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2. Employers offering more voluntary benefits

Management (SHRM). “To meet employee expectations and attract and retain talent, employers are offering voluntary benefits, to enable employees to create a package that works for their needs,” SHRM writes.

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3. A more holistic approach

The Voluntary Benefits Benchmarking Overview survey conducted by insurance software firm Zywave shows that employers are beginning to expand the range of their offerings to include cancer insurance (32%) critical illness insurance (33%), and financial counseling (12%), demonstrating a willingness to invest in employee benefits that can combat the lingering effects of COVID-19. 

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3. A more holistic approach

In fact, employers who currently do not offer such holistic benefits say they are likely to add them in the future.  Membership discounts (25%), pet insurance (19%), financial counseling (15%), critical illness (13%) and student loan repayment assistance (11%) are all perks that employers say they are exploring.

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4. Big companies up the ante

Large businesses with deep pockets are investing more in employee well-being.  In early 2021, Fidelity Investments, together with the nonprofit Business Group on Health surveyed more than 150 large and midsize U.S. national and multinational companies. The results show the vast majority of these businesses offering programs in mental 

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4. Big companies up the ante

health, work/life balance, caregiving and financial success.  For example, 64 percent of these businesses enhanced child care support and 83 percent have or will provide programs to support emergency savings, debt management and budgeting. Big companies also continue to invest in corporate well-being 

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4. Big companies up the ante

programs, offering a per-employee incentive of $600 on average.

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5. Retirement and other financial assistance

One of the pandemic’s hard lessons is the importance of financial security. Today, many workers are rethinking spending vs. saving, and are prioritizing financial goals.  According to Schwab Retirement Plan Service’s annual survey, almost one in two workers plans to save more overall, and more than a third plan to increase 401 (k) 

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5. Retirement and other financial assistance

contributions, invest more, and pay off debt. The important news for employers is that 75% of workers say they are more likely to stay at their job if their employer offers financial wellbeing benefits (Source: Purchasing Power survey). Think: voluntary accident insurance to supplement health plans, student loan repayment 

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5. Retirement and other financial assistance

programs, corporate discount programs, low-interest loans, medical deductible financing and financial counseling.

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6. Shifting paid leave policies

The Biden administration’s American Families Plan (AFP) includes a national, comprehensive parental, medical, and family leave program.  Whether a national program becomes law or not, the tides are changing due in large part to the pandemic, with 75% of likely voters saying they support paid family and medical leave.

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6. Shifting paid leave policies

Many employers have already loosened their leave policies. For example, one in 10 companies surveyed offer Juneteenth as a paid company holiday. (Source: Mercer Survey on Absence and Disability Management).  Another major finding has to do unlimited PTO. The number of companies offering it has doubled in just three years, to 

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6. Shifting paid leave policies

one in five in 2021, up from one in 10 in 2018.

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