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The importance of workplace health insurance to keep a workforce covered

By: Jackie Edwards

The United States spends around 3.5 trillion a year on healthcare expenses, which clearly demonstrates the importance of health insurance for workers. A Clutch survey showed that over half of all people surveyed believe that health coverage is a fundamental component of job satisfaction and security for workers. Younger generations may value other considerations (think: paid vacations, overtime pay, flexible working hours), yet it is precisely workers of this age who are most in need of coverage, owing to factors such a college debt. When is workplace health insurance compulsory?
In the U.S., companies with a staff of 50 or lager must provide workers’ health insurance. However, even if your company is small-to-medium in size, offering coverage to workers is vital if you want to attract top talent. In the Clutch survey, over half of all employees said that health insurance was the most important benefit they were seeking. An Aflac Workforce Report came to similar findings. Here, around 60% of employees said they would accept a job offering a lower salary with better benefits. To achieve success, you need to offer staff competitive conditions. Above all, you need to be in tune to the demands of new recruits and established professionals alike. If necessary, consider non-essential cutbacks if needs be so as to keep staff securely covered.

A healthy workforce is a productive one
There is a strong correlation between health and work or academic productivity. Research undertaken at Brigham Young University showed that employees who had healthy eating habits were 25% more likely to be better performers at work. Those who took part in physical activity, meanwhile, were 15% more likely to shine in their respective offices. On the other hand, those who were stressed about finances and personal worries has a negative effect on productivity. If simple habits such as good nutrition and exercise have such a powerful effect on the workforce, it is easy to see how major physical and mental ailments that are not well treated can have the opposite effect.

How does stress affect productivity?
A study published in the International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management showed that “stress leads to reduced productivity and increased satisfaction leads to increased productivity.” Benefits such as flexibility, due pay for overtime, and health coverage all enhance the management-employee relationship. This is because trust is a key component of loyalty and motivation. Employees who feel like the entire staff is united and steering in one clear direction are more likely to stay focused and feel inspired to give their all in their workplace.

Personalized healthcare important to employees
Teams can be large and comprise people with very different backgrounds, ages, and needs. Therefore, savvy companies should (in so far as possible) offer personalized benefits to employees. This essentially means that your employees should be able to choose the health insurance policy that best suits their situation. This way, they can enjoy benefits such as sticking to their current doctors and specialists, and this policy can still be useful for them when they decide to move on. An employee who is already on a spouse’s policy can use the allowance your company sets aside for them for expenses such as orthodontics, medical screening, prescription eyewear, and the like.

Keeping costs down
Employment-based coverage is less costly than individually contracted insurance, which is the main reason why workers prize it so highly. Employers can offer good health insurance because most employees enjoy good health. Those who are older or have chronic conditions will usually be covered by public programs, thus cutting costs for companies. Employees also enjoy special tax treatment for employment-based insurance. For instance, they can pay their portion of the insurance premium from pre-tax income. Finally, when health insurance is covered by companies, risks re often pooled in group plans and the cost to an individual employee does not depend on his or health status.

There are many advantages to offering workers health insurance, even when you are not legally obliged to do so. Job hunters currently value health insurance as the most important benefit; only millennials value paid vacation more. Offering health insurance makes for a happier, less stressed, more productive workforce — one in which employees feel like they are part of a family, not just a business.