Employee Benefit Trends

HR Resource
September 19, 2012 — 2,323 views  
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Employee benefits have been on the decline throughout the United States. These trends have been largely shaped by changes in employee benefits internationally and by surging healthcare costs. Most of the largest corporations located in the United States are outsourcing much of their labor to parts of the world that do not have very good benefits packages. This has lead to a trend of declining employee benefits domestically.

One of the reasons why employers in other parts of the world do not provide employee health benefits is that most of the employees receive national health insurance and social security.

Reasons for Rising Healthcare Costs

A major challenge that employers have faced is the increasing cost of providing healthcare benefits to employees. The growing healthcare costs are driven by an aging population that experiences more health conditions as a result of age-related disorders. Also, there have been a number of technological advancements that have been very expensive and these advancements have driven up the cost for medical treatments. Another factor that has recently driven up the cost of health insurance even further is the increasing number of uninsured Americans. 

Employers Prefer to Control Healthcare

Despite the declining health benefits, most employers prefer to have control over their employee’s health benefits and do not want a national healthcare plan. Also, businesses still see health benefits as an important aspect of attracting and retaining their most valuable workers. 

For the past couple of decades, the number of employees who receive health benefits has remained largely stable. However, the types of insurance plans that employers offer have been declining. Employees have to pay higher premiums, co-pays and deductibles. They are also limited in how many medical services they can have covered. 

Employer funding of retiree health insurance is declining and former employees are increasingly more likely to need to pay for health expenses. Also, the relationship between Medicare and retiree health benefits is becoming more complex as younger retirees are able to buy-in to Medicare. 

Other Benefits Seeing a Decline

Less common benefits have been in greater decline, such as life insurance and disability insurance. Workers are receiving more offers for voluntary employee-pay-all benefits. 

Attitudes of employees have changed in light of the recent recession. Employees are more likely to see long-term financial security as a bigger concern then they saw it in the past. As a result, retirement plans are more likely to attract this group.

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