Employers are offering more personalized and progressive health benefits to accommodate an always-on workforce, according to new analysis from Korn Ferry and WorldatWork.
The percentage of employers offering telemedicine shot up 24% in the last year, from 49% in 2016 to 73% in 2017, while the number of firms offering employees access to a 24-hour nurse line increased 10%, from 69% to 79%, according to the report, which surveyed more than 850 WorldatWork members.
Stress reduction programs, employee assistance programs and behavioral health plans also increased by double digits over the past year.
The prevalence of those programs is attributed to the “hyper-connected, lightning-quick pace of today’s global workforce,” says Robert Swatland, senior principal at global consulting firm Korn Ferry.
Swatland compares this new generation of benefits to banking, which years ago could only be accessed from 9 to 5; now, it can be done with a few swipes or clicks from any location.
“That’s what people expect now,” Swatland says.
Telemedicine makes it easier for employees to access healthcare providers on the weekends and after-hours, especially for workers with children. Employers are becoming more attune to these needs, as 62% of employers offer telemedicine services as part of their healthcare plans, with an additional 12% offering the benefit as a standalone perk, according to the report.
Likewise, stress-reduction (offered by 65% of employers), weight management (70%) and smoking cessation programs (84%) can be accessed 24/7, thus improving behavioral changes in a positive way for employees and employers.
“You can’t really raise the copays and you can’t increase the deductibles anymore, but employers are looking for other ways to save money,” Swatland says, pointing to those round-the-clock programs as a way for employers to reduce healthcare costs. “That’s where the programs are really growing.”
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