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2019 Health and Well-being Touchstone Survey

Originally posted on PwC.com.

Overview

PwC’s 2019 Health and Well-being Touchstone Survey offers a look into the current landscape and future outlook for total rewards as employers compete for talent. While results showed that employers maintained the status quo in 2019, they also highlight opportunities for changes to their people strategies.

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Predicting medical costs

Employers expect medical costs to increase 6.3% in 2019, or 3.8% after plan changes. This is consistent with the actual increase of 6.2% from 2017 to 2018.

This 6% increase—expected and actual—signals some skepticism that employers can change the cost trajectories of their health plans. Bending the cost curve is possible, but doing so will require implementing innovative strategies, which human resource departments may not want to do in a tight labor market.

Putting ‘well’ back into well-being

Stress, burnout and other mental health issues can mean higher healthcare costs and employee turnover for companies—a direct hit on the bottom line. More companies seem to recognize the importance of stress management, and there was a big jump in the number of employers (64%) offering stress management programs in 2019. But there seems to be a missing link. Employers aren’t necessarily incorporating their stress management programs into their overall wellness and well-being programs. Employers can jump-start a stale wellness program by taking a more holistic perspective and looking at the overall well-being of mind, body and spirit.

Moving toward a gig economy

‘Gig’ workers—freelancers or contractors hired on a short-term basis—on average make-up between 1% and 9% of an employer’s workforce. Although 70% of large employers use gig workers in some capacity, only 13% currently offer their gig workers benefits. In contrast, 83% of employers offer benefits to their part-time workers. Offering benefits could be the differentiating factor when it comes to attracting the best gig talent.

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