you had to choose between getting a raise and giving it
up so you could keep the health coverage you rely on at
work, which would you take?
half of workers would skip the raise if it meant they
could count on their health coverage, a study by the
Employee Benefit Research Institute found. Attitudes are
clearly mixed, with workers also eager to get a bump in
pay after a long period of stagnant income.
makes a difference in outlook, noted Paul Fronstin, EBRI
health care analyst. Millennials, during and after the
recession, started their work lives with unusually
low-paying jobs. With high rents and huge student loan
burdens, many are eager for more pay. Older workers with
families to support, and often higher health care costs
than younger workers, tend to favor the health care
benefits, Fronstin said.
percentage of people saying they would rather have fewer
health benefits and higher wages has doubled since 2012
— increasing from 10 percent to 20 percent of workers.
About 29 percent of people said they would like a less
costly plan than they are being offered by their
people are satisfied with their health care coverage
through work, although the level of satisfaction has
been slipping. Since 2012, those satisfied has dropped
from 74 percent to 66 percent.
has been surveying health care satisfaction since 2001
and started digging into additional attitudes when
passage of the Affordable Care Act led to speculation
that some employers would stop providing health
insurance and let employees fend for themselves on the
new exchanges that sell health insurance. But Fronstin
said few employers are dropping health coverage.
offer health plans to compete for employees,"
Fronstin said.. In one EBRI study, 22 percent of people
said they’ve accepted, quit or changed jobs based on
employee benefits. About 75 percent of employees ranked
health insurance as extremely important to them. It
significantly outranks the second-most popular benefit,
retirement savings plans — or 401(k)s — ranked as
extremely important by 36 percent of people.
the cost of providing health insurance in the workplace
has been rising for both employers and employees. The
Kaiser Family Foundation found in 2015 that the cost of
premiums has been rising about 4 percent a year — a
larger increase than the typical family is getting in
pay. Individuals paid on average $1,071 in premiums last
year, and families paid $4,955 — their portion of the
total $17,545 premium. The total annual premium for
single coverage is $6,251.
are rising at a shocking pace. People are being required
to take on more of their health care costs before the
insurance company steps in to cover the rest.
Deductibles paid by workers have climbed 67 percent
since 2010 — about seven times the rise in workers’
wages, according to Kaiser. The average deductible for
an individual is $1,318.
anticipates that employers will deal with costs and the
variety of desires in the workplace in the future by
adding more choices to health plans. He likens it to the
Affordable Care Act exchanges, where people now shop for
plans with various benefit levels.
the study by EBRI, people said they wanted more choices.
Eight in 10 said having choices was "extremely
important" to them. Yet, they also like the comfort
of having their employer or union make the basic choices
for their workplace plans. They aren’t as pleased with
the choices they are being offered now, compared with
the past. And they aren’t as sure as they were that
they will be able to count on their employer to keep
offering the health plans they like, at the price they
want to pay.
only 11 percent are extremely confident they would be
able to do the comparison shopping necessary if they had
to go into the marketplace to choose health plans on
their own. They question whether a rating system would
help them choose the best health insurance.
about half of workers prefer to continue to get coverage
the way they are getting it now from their employer.
They want their employer to keep shopping for the plans
and delivering them to workers at the same price as
today. But 16 percent would like to do their own
shopping. Nearly a fifth would prefer that their
employer give them money and allow workers to decide
whether to purchase coverage at all, or how much to