The world has recently been hyper-focused on the effects of COVID-19—the symptoms, social distancing, and the strain that it’s put on the economy. There’s no shortage of worry about our health and safety, but the virus also changes how people use their benefits. How employees think about benefits is shifting, and it is incumbent on organizations to plan for these trends. Learn more about how four benefit trends will impact companies and their workers.

What Benefit Trends Are Coming to Light?

It’s hard to talk about trends too far in the future, with the virus still looming and the economy always changing. Instead, let’s look at micro-trends: several smaller trends happening all at once that will be driving the market.

Preventative Care Is Down, and When Normalized, Will Strain the System

According to a study done by Benefits Pro, preventative care is down across the board. Immunizations for mumps and measles are down by 34%, mammograms by 90%, and colonoscopies by 95%. These delays are worrying as early detection is key in health management. Employers may see a spike in diagnosis and increased medical care for their employees once regular health care activities resume. This backlog and surge may be costly for employees in terms of medical costs. It will be equally tricky for medical professionals to deal with the increased workload.

Acute and Chronic Care Is Being Delayed, and It Is Unclear What the Results Will Be

According to the same study done by Benefits Pro, COVID-19 has caused a large gap in care related to chronic conditions. People are missing regular treatments, medication routines, and screenings. ER visits for chest pain are down 35% and abdominal pain by 47%. As an employer, you need to remind your staff of other options such as telehealth visits, disease management solutions, and remind them of life-threatening conditions (like chest pain) that require immediate medical attention.

Employees Are Increasingly Relying on Their Employers for Their Medical Needs

Health insurance is listed as the critical benefit workers look for when searching for a job. Now, more and more people need mental health benefits in this time of stress. A survey by MetLife (US) discovered 76% of employees surveyed believed that employers are responsible for the health and well-being of workers, up from 68% in 2015. And this broad definition of well-being includes life insurance, pension, financial wellness, student debt assistance, car insurance, and more.

Benefit Packages Are Increasingly Not One Size Fits All

According to an SHRM study, customization of benefits is the number one trend in benefit packages in the United States. It is the first time in America’s history that four different generations are a part of the workforce, and it is clear that not all ages value the same things in benefits. Ensure you offer a full offering of benefits, so your employees have a chance to pick benefits. For example, younger employees are likely to favor benefits such as student loan repayment, fitness packages, or onsite child care. On the other hand, older employees are likely to favor benefits such as long-term disability insurance or hospitalization coverage.

Keep up With the New Benefit Trends

All four of these micro-trends will be pushing your benefits packages. This information is key to attracting new employees who will be looking at your benefits as a critical incentive in the hiring process and your current employees as they will find their needs quickly changing. Benefits Zone can help with a solution that will connect employees to their benefit options and gather data for you to make data-driven decisions in these changing times. Contact us to learn more.