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Employers should invest in diversified workplace benefits despite economic uncertainty

By Sara K. Taylor, Health Strategy & Solutions Leader
woman with daughter in her lap reviewing the diversity of benefits offered by her employer

With low unemployment, over 10 million U.S. job openings (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics) and the changing composition of U.S. households - multiple generations, extended family members, same-sex couples, unmarried couples and single parents - employers need to invest in more diversified benefits to attract and retain key talent.

In our latest report, 2023 Benefits and Enrollment Trends, Alight’s Sara Taylor reveals how employers who offer more personalized medical guidance can help employees find better value from their benefits.


What employee benefits trends are you seeing in the market?

In 2023, the average total cost of medical coverage (regardless of plan type) is $5,330 for single coverage and $13,998 for family coverage, which is an increase of 2.3% and 3.2% respectively compared to 2022 costs. Overall, employers continue to contribute 72% towards the cost of single coverage and 70% towards the cost for family coverage.

Additionally, employers are increasing their plan offerings. Most employers now offer three or more types of medical plans to their employees. Also, 86% of employers offer a HDHP with a qualified HSA, while about half of employers offer some type of supplemental healthcare, like accident, critical illness or hospital indemnity insurance.  Increasing benefit options appeals to the unique needs and preferences of a more diversified workforce.

Do employees take advantage of their health benefits choices? 

The report found that while 73% of employees are enrolled in medical coverage, most are enrolled in the same health insurance as in 2022. Only 16% of employees enrolled in a different health insurance option for 2023.

When employers provided personalized guidance or suggestions, 24% of employees changed their medical option. As medical cost pressures continue to mount, personalized medical guidance helps employees find better value from their benefits.

Is there anything that has surprised you?

Yes, the report shows that the overall medical enrollment rate has been decreasing slightly year after year. One key reason for this is employee income - the report shows a significant decline in medical enrollment over the years for employees who earn less than $60,000.

As employees carry a larger share of medical cost increases, this may lead them to go without healthcare or leave their current employer to find more value for their hard-earned dollars.

What do employers need to do now with their benefits offerings?

Employers must assess and adjust their benefits offerings to attract and retain key talent and meet other business objectives such as cost targets and diversity, equity and inclusion goals. They also need to increase awareness and engagement with their workforce throughout 2023.

Organizations need to help their employees understand the benefits available to them, including the differences in medical plan offerings, as well as help them make the optimal choices based on each employee’s unique needs.

Employers can use the insights in this report to design a benefits strategy to better meet employee needs and organizational objectives.

Sara K. Taylor (US)
Sara K. Taylor (US)
By Sara K. Taylor

Sara is part of Alight’s Health Strategy and Solutions team supporting several of Alight’s healthcare solutions. She has more than 30 years of experience in health solutions. Sara graduated from Bradley University with a bachelor's degree in business administration. She is also a Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS).

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