Benefits Trends to Watch 2022
January 24, 2022

Given the current dynamic around new workforce wants / needs coupled with increasing cost of health benefits, employers are looking at benefits differently. Employees are expecting greater flexibility, adaptation to their preferences, and mobility in all facets of their employment. Employers find themselves with health plans that have deductible levels that create a barrier to accessing the healthcare system, leaving the employees functionally under-insured. Those companies that can marry their employee benefits to also meet those preferences will gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

To meet those issues in the current environment, these trends and concepts may dominate 2022:

  • More employers will move to alternate financing, like self funded or partially self funded, specifically small(er) and medium-sized employers. According to Kaiser Family Foundation from 2018 - 2021, self funding for companies 200-1000 employees rose from 50% to 63%, and companies 3-200 employees rose from 13% to 21%. Already on an upward trend, this increase may accelerate.
  • Employers will engage healthcare providers more directly, rather than just via insurance. Rate increases in the fully insured market and barriers to the delivery of care, direct sourcing and contracts will gain momentum.
  • Employees will expect more support in mental and behavioral health. Again the constraints of "coverage" in a traditional health plan with increased mental health needs drive additional benefits in employee assistance programs and direct services.
  • Along with general employment flexibility, benefits offering the flexibility to meet needs across lifespan will be a recruiting/retention differentiator. Being able to engage the workforce that has their eye on retirement, the new graduate, and everyone in between will be a top priority for employers.

As a recent Journal of American Medical Association editorial highlights, awareness is raising that financial levers are not in place for the healthcare system or insurance companies to 'control the cost' of healthcare. Employers can take the reigns and build benefits around their people. That transition alone can transform how and how much they pay for their employee's health benefit. 


Topics: Health Finance Self-Funded Health Insurance Self-Funded Insurance Self-Funding Health Insurance Health Literacy Healthcare Navigation Healthcare Finance
Eric Hannah

Written by Eric Hannah

Eric is an employee benefits advisor at Olivier VanDyk Insurance and a catalyst for change. Through a multi-faceted, two-decade healthcare career, he developed a unique perspective on personal well-being, healthcare navigation and insurance systems. This experience inspired Eric to introduce an innovative approach to employee benefits – putting employers and employees in charge of their own care and spend. Eric believes that employee benefits should be a tool to achieve the optimal employee experience. Today, he helps forward-thinking business leaders develop strategies that create value.