10th annual conferenceNow that the new presidential administration is in place, it’s time to look forward to see what is on the horizon for key employee benefit trends.  A recent article in Benefit Focus narrowed in on five trends to watch for in 2017.  This year’s trends have a wellbeing focus versus the traditional benefit set targeting in on healthcare delivery.  The top areas of focus will find employers dialing in on creating personalized plan offerings and communication which starts with offering more supplemental coverage that fits their employees’ unique needs.  It will be vital that benefits are communicated in a way that speaks their language and via channels they prefer.

Also, with a growing millennial workforce, financial wellbeing is being targeted.  Employers that want to recruit and retain top talent will often find themselves competing for recent college graduates.  Our younger employees will be entering the workforce carrying more student loans than ever before.  They will be looking for ways to educate themselves on how to gain control of this debt and find ways to get out from underneath the stress that financial hardship can carry.  Offering financial resources may help employers eases this burden for their employees.

The remaining top three topics focus in on healthcare.  Taking data to the next level to help guide an employer’s benefit strategy will be key.  Along with that, the next steps will be taking this data and tying it into the enrollment process so employees can make cost-effective plan choices.  Digital health will also be a big topic in 2017, with many employers looking for ways to deliver healthcare via technology.  This can have a positive impact on claims while helping consumers control out-of-pocket expenses as well.

Finally, as no surprise, closing out the top five employee benefit trends in 2017 is the Affordable Care Act’s uncertain future.  Finding the right solution to control healthcare spending will take all the different entities involved in this industry to come together and determine what a sustainable healthcare plan looks like.  The new administration has indicated it may mean more competition, more transparency, less litigation and less bureaucracy.

Reflecting on these top five trends, it’s apparent employers will continue to be investing a significant portion of their budgets towards benefits in 2017 and beyond.  It’s imperative that employers continue to promote and communicate that these items as more than just benefits, but rather are vital resources that they have dedicated to making sure their employees are protected and can succeed within their organizations.

Joy Binkley

Joy Binkley

Principal, Health & Welfare Consultant - Joy is a trusted member of the HCW consulting team. She prides herself on helping clients create and manage a customized benefit program for their employees. Joy’s client advocacy, in conjunction with her warm personality make her an asset to HCW.
Joy Binkley