The last several years have brought unique challenges to the workplace. With every change, employers have been forced to adapt and change. One area we continue to see changes in is employee benefits. More than ever, companies must be creative with benefits packages that genuinely support the needs of their employees.
So, what does 2023 look like in terms of employee benefits?
1. Medical plans expected to see bigger rise in cost in 2023
Employers in the U.S. expect medical plan costs per employee to rise 5.6 percent on average in 2023. While significantly higher than the premium increase of 4.4 percent expected for 2022, the 2023 increase lags overall inflation, which is currently running at about 8.5 percent year over year.
2. Affordability & access
Despite rising costs, most employers are not planning to increase employees’ share of coverage costs in 2023, such as by raising deductibles or co-pays.
Among large employers (those with 500 or more employees) responding to the survey, employees will be required to pick up 22 percent of total health plan premium costs, on average, in 2023 through paycheck deductions, unchanged from 2022 and 2021.
Healthcare affordability is a real issue for many employees, especially with inflation stressing household budgets,” said Tracy Watts, Mercer’s national leader of U.S. health policy.
“Employers want to do what they can to keep more money in employees’ paychecks and remove cost barriers when care is needed.”
3. Highlights on wellness
Wellness programs that support healthy lifestyles, mindfulness, and some aspects of mental health will likely remain popular in the workplace in the coming year. But “wellness” is a more recent buzzword, and buzzwords can become ubiquitous—and more difficult to delineate from other programs that support health.
Employers are taking notice. The long rise of workplace wellness programs is projected to taper off a bit, with expected annual growth of 3.8% from 2020 to 2025.
But that’s not to say that wellness benefits are disappearing. Instead, employers are being more thoughtful about what constitutes wellness and how to best support employees in making healthy lifestyle choices.
For instance, Edenred’s Lifestyle Spending Accounts can be used to pay for health, fitness, tuition, pet care, and more. All these benefits can have a positive impact on health and well-being, helping to reduce stress and increase morale.
4. Supporting family caregivers
Nearly 50 million people in the United States serve as caregivers to loved ones, so offering support to employees serving in this role might be more critical than you think.
By helping caregivers, employers also help themselves. The stress and time-based demands of caregiving often draw attention away from work—nearly 1 in 4 employed caregivers reported absenteeism or presenteeism related to their caregiving duties within one month.
5. Making commuting easier
Commuter benefits will be a hot benefit as employees look for more cost-effective ways to get to and from work. These benefits allow employees to use pre-tax dollars towards commuting costs like public transit, rideshares, and qualified parking expenses.
6. Supporting a healthy diet
At the end of every December, millions of Americans pledge to be healthier in the New Year. Oftentimes this includes things like joining a gym or resolving to make healthier food choices. Now employers can make that easier than ever, with Edenred’s Ticket Restaurant.
This benefit offers employees the convenience of a prepaid card that is funded monthly with a meal allowance. Promoting health, nutrition, and employee well-being, this virtual cafeteria can be used to pay for meals during working hours at local eateries, restaurants, grocery stores, and through food-delivery apps.
Heading into a new year may bring new challenges, but there is also opportunity. As the job market remains tight, look to employee benefits to retain, and attract top talent.
Schedule a meeting today to ensure you’re offering the most competitive benefits packages and that your employees take full advantage of them.