Health benefits

Poll: Large employers revisited telehealth and mental health benefits during the pandemic

After much talk last year about which companies are scaling up their mental health offerings, those promises have come true.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation annual employer health benefits survey, 39% of medium and large companies said they had changed their mental health benefits since the start of the pandemic. For the most part, these changes included the ability for employees to access mental health services through telemedicine. About 16% of companies also said they are offering new mental health resources, such as an employee assistance program.

Employees also seem to use these benefits. About 12% of companies with 50 or more employees reported an increase in the use of mental health benefits, but the largest company (with 1,000 or more employees) recorded an increase of 38%.

Reflecting broader coverage trends across the United States, 65% of companies reported changes in benefits related to telemedicine. And just over half also said they made changes to their wellness programs.

The average family premium for employer-sponsored plans has increased by 47% over the past decade. Photo credit: Kaiser Family Foundation

Family premiums increase by 4%
Even though healthcare use slowed last year, with procedures stalled as Covid-19 cases increased, premiums for the average family plan saw a modest increase of 4%. It’s about up to the mark with what employers saw last year, enter the pandemic.

The average premium for a family plan has exceeded $ 22,000, according to the survey. On average, workers contributed $ 5,969 this year, with their employer covering the rest.

While the increase in premiums year over year is roughly comparable to wages and inflation, looking back over the past decade, health care costs exceed it. from afar. Since 2011, contributions have increased by over 47%, while wages have increased by 31% and inflation is up almost 19%.

The average deductible for employees, of $ 1,669, also increased slightly from last year, but significantly over the past decade. More and more workers are paying deductibles, with 85% of employees reporting paying one this year, up from 74% in 2011.

The survey results were based on responses from nearly 1,700 large and small employers.

Photo credit: aurielaki, Getty Images