Benefitfocus documents trends in 2017 employee benefits plans

Benefitfocus research shows employers are embracing voluntary benefits.   Contributed image

Benefitfocus Inc., a company that provides cloud-based benefits management software, recently released its second annual “State of Employee Benefits” research report.

“This year’s report documents the continued shift by employers to consumer-driven health care plan designs,” Benefitfocus co-founder and CEO Shawn Jenkins said in a statement. “Employers and employees on the Benefitfocus Platform continue to see greater choice, personalization and benefit from the intersection of health care with personal finance.”

According to the research, five major trends are shaping 2017 company plans. Employees appear to have greater control and choice in what benefits they receive. However, these employees are on average paying a much higher price for the benefits.

Also of note are statistics that show that age and wage play major roles in health plan participation. Younger employees are saving more; millennials are greatly increasing their contributions to health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts.

Of final note is research showing that employers are more and more embracing voluntary benefits.

“Employers continue to offer more choice in benefits – both with [high deductible health plans] and voluntary benefits – to help employees personalize their benefits to best suit their unique health and financial needs,” Jenkins said. “Based on the data, it's clear that individuals on the Benefitfocus Platform are becoming savvier benefit consumers, carefully considering their financial and health situation with each plan."

Jenkins said as employers continue to shift additional financial responsibility for health care to their workforce, they must invest in leading technology, resources and tools that guide employees to better informed decisions.

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