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7 Things Employers Don't Know About Healthcare Benefits

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, April 11, 2012

For 10 years researchers at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) have conducted an annual survey about employee benefits. While much of the survey focuses on benefits in general, the 80-page report is chock full of information that employers probably don't realize, but should consider as they talk to health plans and employees about their healthcare benefit programs.

The survey results confirm that health benefits are "number one on the minds of employees," says Ronald S. Leopold, MD, vice president and national medical director of MetLife U.S. Business. He adds that as the economy improves, employers are turning the corner in terms of how they view benefits. They’re moving from thinking that employees should be happy just to have a job, to seeing benefits as an important tool for attracting and retaining employees.

Leopold says employee attitudes are also shifting. During the bad economy, employees were focused primarily on salary. Now, he says, they are taking a look at their entire compensation package and benefits are coming into sharper view.

The survey results also reveal that when it comes to benefits, employees maintain a level of distrust toward their employer. Leopold says employers need to work harder to avoid miscommunications about benefits. He points to the finding that 33% of employees think employers plan to reduce benefits while only 10% of employers report that they plan to make that move. To avoid that disconnect "employers need to deliver a clear message to employees about the status of benefits."

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