The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)/Greenwald & Associates Health and Voluntary Workplace Benefits Survey released this month “examines a broad spectrum of health care issues, including workers’ satisfaction with health care today, their confidence in the health care system and the Medicare program, and their attitudes toward benefits in the workplace”.
The 2016 survey was conducted on line last June and used the Research Now consumer panel. 1500 workers between the age of 21-64 participated in the survey and the data was weighted by gender, age, and education to reflect the actual proportions in the employed population.
EBRI identified key findings in their survey as outlined below:
- 1/3 of workers (32%) are only somewhat satisfied with the benefits offered by their current employer, and 20 percent are not satisfied.
- 1/2 of workers (49%) are extremely or very confident that their employer will continue to offer a similar benefits package three years from now. Those that were less confident that their benefits will remain the same tend to believe their benefits will weaken.
- Workers continue to value employment-based health insurance as their most important benefit. 87% of workers report that employment-based health insurance is extremely or very important, followed by a retirement savings plan (77%) and dental or vision (72%).
- 2/3 of workers are confident in their ability to make informed benefits choices. Yet, nearly as many would welcome benefit advice from a third-party advisor or an online program.
- Workers identify lower cost, choice, and the convenience of using pre-tax and through payroll deductions as strong advantages of voluntary employment-based benefits.
As Congress continues their work to either repeal and replace or fix the Affordable Care Act and as they begin work on tax reform this year, we would hope they would keep worker sentiments (like illustrated above) in mind. 178 million Americans rely on employer-based health care as the source for their health insurance, and as the study has indicated, workers find health insurance from their employer as the most important workplace benefit. What happens with the Cadillac tax in the future and the employer exclusion on health care will remain key to the continuance of employer-based coverage.