The Real ROI of Employee Health Benefits

The Real ROI of Employee Health Benefits

There are a lot of decisions to be made when it comes to the things that will impact a company's bottom line in the most significant, positive ways, but in 2019 one of the most important might just be the health benefits it offers.

Global health spending is more than $3 trillion — and still growing. Much of that spend of is driven by millennials, who have both a strong interest in personal wellness and, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (aka, Obamacare), an 86% coverage rate (more than 50 percent through individual plans, their parents’ plans or Medicaid). For those in or entering the job market, health insurance is an expectation.

In an April 2017 study, Fit Small Business found that the benefit millennials want most from their next company is health insurance. These numbers were confirmed in a 2018 by the Benenson Strategy Group in a poll that asked millennials if they would choose better insurance or a 10 percent pay raise. The majority opted for health insurance. Health insurance also placed first out of nine possible employee benefits in the survey, followed by retirement account contributions and vacation.

The desire for health benefits is not surprising, given the increasing costs and complexities of the ACA and the new, somewhat cheaper, far less-comprehensive plans being promoted by the current administration, both of which are enough to make anyone sick…and confused.

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Value on Investment Versus Return on Investment

Health insurance is an expensive investment. But despite the costs, organizations are increasingly focused on the value on investment (VOI) that health and wellness programs bring. However, some companies do still wonder if the investment made in healthcare benefits and wellness programs really does offer a decent return on their investment, especially as one of the biggest consumers, the aforementioned Millennials, do not have a strong reputation for sticking with jobs for too long.

But in most cases there is good ROI to be had as well. Here are three reasons why these programs are worth every penny:

Increased Productivity

According to the CDC Foundation, productivity losses linked to absenteeism cost employers almost $226 billion, while costs for "presenteeism" — showing up for work when you are ill or injured — is estimated around 10 times as much.

While you may think your staff is doing you a favor by coming in with a cold think again. Experts estimate it that while staff took off only four days ill, they lost 57.5 days to presenteeism. Meanwhile it’s also estimated that companies with established health and wellness programs save the equivalent of an additional productive workday per month.

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Increased employee engagement

A recent Optum and National Business Group on Health survey found that employees who take part frequently in health and wellness programs are, compared to employees who never take part, 88 percent more likely to feel valued by their employer; 18 percent more likely to take responsibility for their health and well-being; and 45 percent more likely to rate their work performance as higher than co-workers — all markers of greater employee engagement.

Healthy Staff Stay Longer – And Stay Happier

Wellness programs are not a magic wand, but they go a long way to improve retention. When an employer tailors a wellness program to the needs of their employees, they are implicitly saying they are important and their health and well-being matter.

Positive experiences are an important part of organizational culture — and retaining great talent. Though they can find another job somewhere, staff will hesitate before leaving, wondering if they will be treated and valued in the same way elsewhere.

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