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The American workforce continues to evolve and change, allowing companies unlimited innovation and growth opportunities. In addition to changes in education level, technical skills and culture expectations, a younger generation of workers brings a new perspective to employer sponsored health insurance. Millennials, those born between the early 1980’s and early 2000’s, have officially outgrown Generation X to be the largest generation in the workforce. Beyond the workplace, the millennial generation has claimed the title of largest generation, surpassing Baby Boomers.
Yet regardless of age, benefit offerings continue to be a driving factor in the decision to accept a job offer. Companies looking to attract and retain a competitive workforce should keep a pulse on which benefits matter to younger generations, keeping these trends in mind:
As the first generations to grow up with the latest technology on hand, younger workers seek the most convenient way to access information. Mobile engagement is key when it comes to accessing healthcare information, enrolling in and managing benefits and even visiting with a doctor.
Employers are offering online and mobile communication strategies to increase engagement. Strategies can include online open enrollment which is also mobile compatible and an easy way to review claims, deductible status, biometric lab data and other health information in one location. Another trend on the rise is the adoption of telehealth, with 80% of employers exploring the option as part of their 2018 strategy and 20% of employees demanding the service.
According to the American Psychological Association, the millennial generation experiences more stress than any other generation, but are generally less capable of handling it. In addition to poor mental health increased frustration and anxiety, the physical effects are a growing concern to overall employee health. High blood pressure, low energy and increased risk for other illnesses are potential long-term effects of unmanaged stress. Employers are combating the risk with incorporating stress management programs into their existing benefits and corporate wellness programs.
Millennials want choices, especially when it comes to their healthcare. As a result, and in part because of a rise in self-funding, more employers are electing flexible and customized plans over a one-size-fits-all model. Doing so allows for health plans to be more customized for each unique workforce, meaning the ability to offer the benefits employees want while delivering lower costs for the plan.
Examples of alternative plan design include HDHPs, where employees can enroll in plans based on their anticipated healthcare utilization. A recent study found that 52% of employers now offer an HDHP, and that if given the option, 44% of millennials would choose a low clow-cost with a high deductible. Employers are also offering premium-based corporate wellness programs where participation results in lower premium payments or other financial incentives, as well as on-site medical clinic access. Crafting customized solutions for each unique workforce allows employers to cater to the needs of their employees, deliver a benefit that allows them to recruit top talent and address areas for cost savings.
No matter how technologically savvy younger generations may be, enrolling in benefits is often overwhelming. To help employees better understand plan offerings, access to an expert can help them through the process. In fact, a recent study showed that 60% of millennials are willing to discuss their benefit options with someone face-to-face or over the phone.
Beyond benefits enrollment, younger workforces want to know they are making sound medical decisions for their health and for their wallet. Employee advocacy services, supported by price transparency tools such as Healthcare Bluebook, allow for decision support to continue beyond the annual enrollment decision and into day-to-day lives of employees.
See how our team can position your growing workforce as an employer of choice. Contact us to start a conversation about your benefits strategy goals.
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The Thrive blog team is made up of health journalists, health coaches, Advisors and other experts who take what we know and turn it into helpful guide for you, our members. Have a question for one of our Health Coaches to tackle? Tweet it to us at @healthgram.
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