There is a disconnect between companies’ investment in health benefits and the impact on employee health, according to research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services sponsored by League Inc., a North American enterprise health operating system (OS).
According to League, in North America, employers are spending an estimated $15,000 per employee to provide health care benefits to their teams and these costs are continuing to rise. The survey of 238 company executives found that 90% of respondents view employee health benefits as an important way to demonstrate their organization’s understanding and concern for the needs of their workers. More than half (51%) of organizations expect such benefits will become an even higher strategic priority over the next three years.
However, 58% of survey respondents report that employees are unaware of the company-provided health benefits to which they are entitled, and 63% say employees don’t know enough about how to leverage their benefits.
The research found low engagement levels with health benefit programs. Just 28% of respondents say employees actively engage with all of the health benefit programs they are offered, and only 27% of organizations say employees use the full range of their health benefits. Low awareness, knowledge and engagement often results in higher overall health care costs, poorer employee health, employee absenteeism and lower productivity, League says.
One problem the survey identifies is employees are often required to access multiple disparate systems to learn about and access their full range of health benefits. At just 10% of organizations, employees can learn about and leverage the full range of available benefits through a single system. At 13% of organizations, employees use more than five systems to access their benefits.
Respondents at most organizations (68%) believe there are opportunities for their organization to better manage health benefits costs. The same percentage report their organization is open to changing its employee health care experience.
“There is a profound disparity between what employers are doing to provide health benefits and what employees are actually getting from these efforts,” says Mike Serbinis, CEO of League. He suggests employers consider how they can streamline access to solutions to help employees proactively manage their health.
League provides employers with a data-driven platform, Health Benefits Experience: HBX, designed to provide a single access hub for employees to engage with their health, lifestyle and benefit programs.An executive summary of the research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and League is available for download here. The full report will be available in September and can be received by signing up on the landing page.