As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to test employees’ emotional and mental health, organizations began leaning on their benefits packages to lend a hand.
This was a main finding in the “COVID-19 Health Benefits Impact Study” by WorldatWork and i4CP, which revealed that 82% of the 1,334 organizations surveyed currently offer programs that are aimed at enhancing their employees’ well-being. Of the organizations providing these well-being services, the most popular offerings are in the categories of physical health, mental health and financial health.
“The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have a significant impact on the emphasis employers place on mental and emotional health in their benefits packages over the next 12 months,” said Steve Boddy, content director at WorldatWork. “These are programs that are not only important to offer, but that have been mostly well received by employees.”
While employers have taken necessary steps to improve their well-being offerings given the times, most companies (89%) said they have not changed health plan providers during the pandemic. Additionally, 59% said they didn’t anticipate making any changes specifically because of COVID-19.
“Many companies aren’t sure what they’re going to need to offer in their benefits package or what is feasible given the uncertainty brought on by COVID,” Boddy said. “Some companies have improved their financial standing as a result of the pandemic, while many others are just hanging on. Both scenarios make it difficult to assess and implement significant benefits plan changes.”
The survey did reveal that some employers (44%) were on the more prepared side or adapted their plan to have clauses/policies that address coverage during a pandemic. What’s more, 64% of organizations said they prioritized full coverage for COVID-19 testing.
A key benefits trend that also emerged for companies during the pandemic was access to telehealth, which 78% of employers reported satisfaction with their provider’s performance in this area. The survey also found that most companies are either satisfied or very satisfied with their provider’s performance in testing and treatment (75%) and communications (72%).
“This is an area where a lot of employers have really stepped up to the plate during the pandemic,” Boddy said. “Employee access to and use of telehealth options during the pandemic has increased significantly, which has been a good outcome for both parties.”
About the Author
Brett Christie is the managing editor of Workspan Daily.