The Obvious Disconnect Between Consumers and Cost of Health Services

By Benz Communication, Special for  USDR

Americans highly value and depend on their employee benefits — health insurance in particular — but lack the savvy and initiative to ask doctors, “How much will it cost?” That question could mean the difference in thousands of dollars for consumers, and millions for U.S. companies. These are among the findings from a new national survey of more than 2,000 employees, led by Benz Communications, a marketing firm that specializes in employee benefits, and Quantum Workplace, a leading technology firm focused on employee satisfaction and engagement  surveys.

“For decades, it’s been clear from health claims data that employees lack understanding around how to connect care to cost,” said Jennifer Benz, founder and CEO of Benz Communications. “However, this data finally gives us that information from employees’ own mouths. Not only that, our findings show the overwhelming trust workers have in their employers — especially as it pertains to health benefits. Effective employee engagement is the only way to maximize that trust relationship and create employees who are truly capable and confident health care  consumers.”

Key  findings

  • Workers largely ignore health costs — affluent workers in particular. Sixty-nine percent say they have enough information to get the right health care for themselves and their family, yet less than half (48%) always ask their doctor how much their care will cost. Among employees with household incomes of $125,000–$149,999, only 31% always ask their doctor how much a procedure will cost.
  • Employees clearly state: Will work for health benefits. Health coverage is a key reason workers stay in their jobs, as 70% indicate they depend on their benefits package; 89% say health benefits play a part in staying at their current employer — nearly half (48%) say they play a major part. Also, 73% wouldn’t work for a company with no health plan.
  • Most perceive health care reform negatively — and employers didn’t help. Among employees who say the Affordable Care Act changed their benefits, 73% say the change made a negative impact. Employers didn’t exactly do their best to turn the tide: Barely half of workers (52%) say ACA-related benefit changes were adequately explained by their employer.
  • Just the existence of wellness programs can inspire health behaviors. Of workers who have access to workplace wellness program, 60% are inspired by their company culture to make healthy choices. Without a workplace program, just 15% are inspired to make healthy choices.
  • Communication correlates to more trust. Among employees who trust their company leaders, 49% say they receive frequent health and wellness communication. Among those employees who do not trust company leaders, only 28% receive frequent communications. Among those who say their manager supports their efforts to be healthy, 83% say there is open communication between employees and managers.

Quantum Workplace Benz Communications Survey Infographic

“This research reinforces that competitive employee benefits are vital to attracting and retaining employees,” said Jason Lauritsen, Director of Best Places to Work at Quantum Workplace. “The key for employers is to amplify the impact of their benefits offerings with robust communication and education that activates employees to take full advantage of these  opportunities.”

Survey details including these and other data points are available in a series of four topical infographics, free for download at  benzcommunications.com/quantumsurvey.

Survey  methodology
Quantum Workplace and Benz Communications surveyed more than 2,000 employees in October 2014 on their attitudes and understanding about workplace health insurance and other benefits. Survey respondents represented a wide array of ages and education levels, and employment in myriad industries. Fifteen percent of participants work for large organizations (more than 10,000 employees), 39% for mid-sized companies (500-10,000) and 46% for small companies (under 500). Women account for two-thirds of all respondents, and 40% of employees are age 35 or younger. Less than one-fifth of all respondents came from a management or executive position within their organization, indicating that the vast majority of employees are front-line  contributors.

About Quantum  Workplace
Quantum Workplace serves more than 5,000 organizations annually through employee engagement surveys, action-planning tools, exit surveys, peer-to-peer recognition, performance evaluations, goal tracking, and leadership assessment. The firm is nationally known for leading the annual Best Places to Work  program.

About Benz Communications
Benz Communications is a marketing firm specializing in employee benefits. The company creates strategic campaigns for employers committed to nurturing high-performing and satisfied employees. Its clients include Fortune 500 companies and Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For, as well as nonprofit and public firms. An established thought leader in the benefits industry, the firm has created a suite of resources to help companies educate employees about health and financial  benefits.

SOURCE Benz Communications; Quantum  Workplace

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.