There are a number of changes which are expected when it comes to employee benefit trends in 2017. While this means new challenges for employers, it also provides significant opportunities to those that can recognize and take advantage of them. Here are some of the trends that are predicted to dominate 2017:
Greater Financial Benefits
The last few years have brought considerable financial distress to many workers, primarily the result of rising healthcare costs. When this is combined with retirement planning, college expenses and elderly care, many workers and their families are feeling the pressure. This has led to a number of financial trends which are expected in 2017, and will include benefits such as tuition reimbursement, financial advisement services and many other economic assistance tools.
Additional Health Savings Accounts
High costs for medical care premiums are projected to continue, and will outpace both budget increases as well as inflation. As a consequence it is predicted that Health Savings Accounts will continue their upward trajectory. Research shows that over 90 percent of businesses that utilize high deductible plans will provide HSAs in 2017, which is an increase over businesses that offered these plans in 2016. Smaller businesses will be more likely to offer HSAs, and depending on changes made by the incoming Trump administration we may see additional regulations in the way in which HSAs are used.
Greater Communication Throughout The Year
Due to the many benefits that employees can expect in 2017 additional communication will be necessary. This will help them determine if they are receiving the best options. Year round communication involving benefits is a trend that is expected to increase rapidly due to the fact that many workers forget about the benefits they are entitled to after open enrollment is complete, which leaves behind a number of premium services. Greater communication is also important because it gives employees are deeper understanding of what benefits are available and how they can help them.
Additional Customization Options
Higher costs have resulted in an environment where more employees want greater control over decisions regarding their benefits. These will likely lead to greater demand for customized solutions as well as additional options for those who want more choices. Technological advances have led to a world where customization is easier than ever before. Some of the most popular choices include portals which are dedicated, unique calculators and voluntary benefits that can be completely customized to the needs of the individual, as well as their family. Bigger healthcare plans which provide differing coverage levels will be capable of communicating options more effectively than anything that was available in the past.
Employers must be prepared for these changes, and they must be open to adapting to them. Benefits managers may find that they have their hands full as they attempt to keep themselves up to date on the constant new legislation and changing benchmarks, but this also provides numerous opportunities for growth. These are just a few of the trends which are expected in 2017.