How to Keep Health Benefits Packages Competitive in 2023

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Executive summary: Learn more about the biggest health benefits trends we can expect to see in 2023 and the implications for your organization, including:

  • How to help employees with health care affordability in an unstable economy
  • The growing importance of family and caregiver-friendly solutions
  • What it means to prioritize your employees’ total wellbeing
  • How organizations are stepping up to address health disparities for vulnerable populations

We’re facing unique dynamics in the workplace. As work models change and the workforce grows more diverse, adapting to meet the evolving needs of your employees is no small task. And national concerns about inflation aren’t making things any easier.

Here are four benefits trends as organizations look to attract and retain top talent:

Improving health care affordability

An unstable and expensive economy has consumers concerned about their finances. In the coming year, employers are making plans to help ease that burden—particularly when it comes to health care. While a Health Savings Account (HSA) can be a cost-effective tool for some employees, they’re often attached to high-deductible plans that aren’t always the best fit. But for those who do benefit from them, it’s helpful to know that some employers are beginning to contribute to their employees’ HSAs to help them save.

Another way employers are trying to ease the financial burden of care involves switching to a narrow or high-performance network, which focuses on providers delivering both higher quality and lower cost. There are also salary-banded health plans where an employee’s salary directly affects how much they pay for health care. Additionally, we can expect to see potentially less expensive solutions like telemedicine and virtual care continue to expand.

Focus on family and caregiver-friendly benefits

There are approximately 11 million caregivers in the U.S., and 28% of them provide unpaid care for both an adult and a child in the home. In addition to taking a physical and emotional toll, caregiving also presents challenges that can impact a person’s ability to bring their best selves to work. Many employers are looking to expand their family-friendly and caregiving benefits in the coming year, from offering backup childcare services to paid parental leave. Offering a care concierge benefit to help with finding and booking medical support is another way that employers can help lighten the load for caregivers.

Increased flexibility in support of total well-being

More than ever, supporting the emotional and physical well-being of your employees matters—having strong behavioral health benefits and resources are vital. According to a study by Mercer, more employers are planning to enable flexible schedules for better-work life integration in 2023. This can mean four-day work weeks and the ability to work from home regularly (over 78% of employers), along with more outside-the-box ideas like paid time off to volunteer. Organizations could also consider benefits like employer-funded “lifestyle” accounts that employees can put toward wellness and health expenses or interests of their choosing.

Addressing health disparities for diverse groups

When it comes to closing the gap for vulnerable populations, organizations are making strides to better support a diverse workforce—including ethnic groups, women, individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ and those with disabilities. According to a recent report by Mercer, more employers are planning to integrate tailored benefits into their offerings, such as specialized behavioral health care support for diverse groups, in addition to more inclusive family care support and women’s reproductive health.

The workplace has changed. Inclusiveness, equity and flexibility are now more important than ever. And it’s up to employers to rise to the challenge by updating their benefits offerings to meet their employees where they are.