Employers show determination to keep workers covered during pandemic
Health care coverage is not the easiest subject for business owners. Typically, member companies of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) report it as one of their best. concerns – and costs – when running a business.
Add to that the business impacts of a global pandemic, and providing medical coverage would apparently be an additional challenge for employers over the past year and a half.
The results of the NJBIA 2021 Health Benefits Poll, however, shows a fairly strong determination among business owners who have tried to keep their employees covered under the most difficult circumstances. In fact, some of those who received COVID-19 grants and loans found themselves using these funds. to help cover health insurance costs during historically difficult times.
Overall, the number of companies offering healthcare coverage has remained constant amid the pandemic compared to before – a strong indication that companies thto provide health care benefits weathered the COVID-19 storm to the best of their ability.
Health Coverage Coverage
According to the survey results, 78% of the companies surveyed said they offer health coverage to their full-time employees – which was tThe exact same number as the 2018 NJBIA Health Benefits Survey.
Given the typical rise in health insurance rates amid the challenges of the pandemic, this stability should be viewed as positive. However, these numbers are still considerably lower than the 85% who provided coverage in the 2016 survey and 87% who provided coverage in the 2014 survey.
For the 22% of respondents who do not offer health insurance to full-time employees, a myriad of reasons were cited. They included costs (39%); ttheir business is not large enough (35%); and an employee coverage mandate did not apply to them (27%).
Only 12% of the companies surveyed offer health insurance coverage for their part-time employees.
The survey shows the type of plan that most employeesThe Preferred Provider Plan (PPO) has been integrated with 35% of employees, by company, covered.
Next is a high deductible health plan (HDHP) with 20%, followed by a point of service plan (POS) and an exclusive supplier organization (EPO) with 14% each, a health planh Maintenance Organization (HMO) with 13%, and a Health Savings Account (HSA) with 12%.
In companies with 1 to 24 employees, PPOs lead the way with 38% of employees covered, followed by HDHP (17%), HMO (15%), POS (14) and EPO (11%).
The only categories wHere, PPOs were not the primary plan employees enrolled in belonged to employee groups 50-99 and 100-249. In both cases, the HDHP had the highest number of registrations.
Concerns about costs
Positively, 83% of NJBIA members said they would continue to offer their workforcemedical coverage next year.
However, 7% said they will give up healthcare next year, while 10% are undecided.
For those who will drop out or are considering discontinuing healthcare for their employers, 82% said it was the cost of coverage that was the main reason. 14% said they would drop coverage because too few employees were willing to participate in a health plan – that’s a steep drop from the 29% who responded similarly in 2018.
Additionally, 14% said they would stop cexcess or considering it because they think the Affordable Care Act penalty for not providing coverage is cheaper than making it available to their employees. This is a jump of 4% compared to 2018.
The number of NJBIA member companies offersThe additional voluntary benefits showed remarkable consistency with the 2018 survey, but revealed a decrease from the previous survey five years ago.
Overall, 58% provide dental benefits – the exact same percentage as three years ago, but down from 63% in 2016. Forty-one percent said they offered vision benefits – which is also the same percentage as in 2018 – but down from 47% in 2016.
Discounts on prescription cards were offered by 22% of respondents, just as they were in 2018. Flexible savings accounts were ooffered by 22% of companies, down slightly from 24% in 2018 and 30% in 2016.
Twenty percent said they offer a healthcare reimbursement account, which is a 2% increase from 2018.
In most cases, the larger the company, the more likely employees are to be offered additional optional services. Indeed, 100% of businesses with more than 250 employees reported providing dental coverage, as did 87% of businesses with 100 to 249 employees.
But there were a few notable exceptions. For example, only 58% of companies with 250 or more employees said they offered vision benefits. In contrast, 71% of companies with 25 to 49 employees reported offering vision coverage.
For companies with 1 to 24 employees, 47% offered dental benefits and 29% offered vision coveragerage.