Workers have more faith in their employers when it comes to their health than in insurers, a new survey published Monday shows. But employers still have work to do.
Just 37% of employees trust their insurer to suggest high-quality care regardless of cost, while 53% trust their employer with their health, according to the Included Health survey that was conducted by YouGov. The 2,500 employees who participated in this survey self-reported that their employers are self-insured. These companies employ anywhere from 25 employees to 5,000 employees with 34% of survey respondents belonging to the latter category of large employers.
“I think that there are lots of things health insurance companies do well in terms of building networks and processing claims and things like that,” said Robin Glass, president of Included Health, in an interview. “But when it comes to an individual feeling like someone is advocating for them, and will help them get to the highest quality, most convenient care experience, I don’t think there are that many health insurance companies that have delivered on that kind of experience.”
San Francisco-based Included Health works with employers and health plans and offers primary, specialty and behavioral healthcare, as well as navigation and advocacy support.
While more than half of employees trust their employer when it comes to healthcare, the survey showed that employees need more support from their employers. For example, one in three workers reported that they’ve had to delay or skip care because they didn’t have enough paid time off, were worried about missing deadlines or feared getting fired.
The survey also found that weight management is a major concern for employees, with about a quarter of respondents saying that obesity/weight loss is their biggest personal health worry. In addition, 65% of employees said it’s important for medical weight loss services — such as GLP-1s or bariatric surgery — to be covered under their medical benefits. Adults who identified as Black, Hispanic, a working parent or Gen Z were more likely to say this. About 10% of workers reported they are currently taking a GLP-1.
While GLP-1s have been cited as a breakthrough for weight loss, they come with a hefty price tag. For example, the list price of Wegovy, which is approved for weight loss, is $1,349 for a one-month supply in the U.S., according to KFF.
“It feels a bit like there’s a perfect storm coming where we’re really going to have to be thoughtful about the trade-offs between health outcomes and … the costs of those treatments,” Glass said.
Additional findings from the report include:
- About 55% of employees said they’ve had poor physical health and 57% said they’ve had poor mental health one or more days in the last month.
- Nearly half of employees said it’s difficult to understand their health insurance benefits. In addition, 48% said finding a high-quality doctor is more stressful than jury duty and 45% said it’s more stressful than dealing with the DMV.
- Only 24% of LGBTQ+ employees said they’re confident they can find a provider in their health plan who understands LGBTQ+ health. About one in three LGBTQ+ employees said they’ve dealt with providers not believing them about their health concerns.
The survey findings show that “there is a really exciting opportunity for employers to play a key role in the overall health experience, and I think we see that members are ready to trust them with that,” Glass said.
Photo: Feodora Chiosea, Getty Images