Slideshow 4 ways benefits have changed in the last 4 years

Published
  • February 28 2016, 8:08pm EST

4 ways benefits have changed in the last 4 years

Leap Day — which falls on Monday, Feb. 29 — might be a good excuse to celebrate an extra day of the year or to turn the tables and propose marriage to your man if you’re a woman, per tradition, but it’s also a good excuse to look at employer-offered benefits and how they’ve changed since the last Leap Day. At least that’s what consulting firm Compdata thought when it examined data from Benefits USA 2011/2012 and Benefits USA 2015/2016 to see how employer benefits plan have changed in the past four years.

“Most HR professionals are well-versed in looking at data year-to-year,” says Amy Kaminski, vice president, Compdata surveys & consulting. “However, looking at long-term trends can sometimes give you a better pulse on whether or not your organization is ahead of the competition when it comes to offering competitive employment packages.”

Here are four ways employee benefit plans have changed since the last leap year.

Less wait time for certain benefits

Remember the days when employees had to wait several months for certain benefits to kick in? While those waits still exist, they have gotten better, with organizations reporting reductions in wait time for eligibility for vacation time and retirement plans.

For example, in 2011-12, organizations reported an average wait time of 91.7 days before employees were eligible for vacation, according to Compdata. Now, the average wait time is 84.4 days. And, the wait time for retirement plan eligibility decreased dramatically, from 130.9 days in 2011-12 to 111.8 days in 2015-16.

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The rise of HDHPs

High-deductible health plans have become significantly more popular in the past four years. In 2015-16, 37.5% of employers reported offering an HDHP medical plan, up 13.8 percentage points from 2011-12. It is now the second most-offered medical plan by employers, and is also the medical plan with the largest shift over the past four years, Compdata reports.

Higher deductibles

Though PPOs continue to be the most-offered medical plan by employers (83.5% of employers offered the plan in 2015-16), deductible levels have changed in the past few years. For employee-only coverage, 27% of employers report a deductible level of $1,000+, an increase of 66.7% from 2011-12. For employee and family coverage, 33.4% of employers report a deductible level of $2000+, an increase of 53.9% from 2011-12.

More wellness offerings

You might have guessed it, but the numbers prove it: Wellness is a much bigger trend today than it was four years ago. Numerous reports have acknowledged the rise of workplace wellness programs throughout the past few years, but Compdata’s report dives into specific increases. According to the data: 62.8% more employers report offering biometric screenings in 2015-16 than in 2011-12; 37.4% more employers report offering medical premium contributions, and 22.9% more employers report offering physical fitness facility access.