Health insurance is expensive, and we’ve all asked ourselves, “Is it really worth what I am paying?”. For employer-sponsored health insurance, the answer is a resounding YES it is. For every dollar employers spent on health insurance-related costs, they get back $1.47 according to a new study from Avalere Health. This figure in fact is expected to grow to 52% by 2026 from 47%.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce commissioned the Avalere Health employer study that used publicly available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Congressional Budget Office to estimate the return on investment employer-sponsored health insurance provides employers with 100 or more employees. Improved employee productivity, reduced direct medical costs, and tax benefits were the primary aspects that generated benefits for employer-sponsored health plans. Employers who offered employer-sponsored health coverage and wellness programs had healthier employees and spent less on direct medical costs, Avalare found.
Employee productivity reflects the reductions in absenteeism and lost productivity after receiving employer-sponsored coverage. These productivity increases contributed an estimated $275.6 billion in employer benefits in 2022, or 53.3% of all benefits. By 2026, this is expected to rise to $346.6 billion or 55.9 percent of total ROI.
ROI of some of these key components includes $275.6 billion from improved productivity in 2022 and $346.6 billion in 2026, $101 billion from a reduction in direct medical costs in 2022 and $108 billion in 2026, and $119.2 billion or a 23% ROI from tax benefits in 2022 and $139.7 billion in 2026.
Employer-Sponsored Insurance(ESI) offerings can positively influence prospective employees’ decisions to join firms, reducing employer recruitment and vacancy costs. The study’s model assumes that 9% of individuals decide to accept a certain position based on ESI. The analysis estimates that firms with 100 or more employees derived $141M in employer benefits in 2022, growing to $167M in 2026.
Similarly, ESI positively affects the retention of employees. Avalere’s analysis estimates $20.3B in employer benefits from improved retention in 2022 and $24.3B in 2026.
The study finds that industries where firms generally made greater investments in ESI tended to result in larger ROI. Also, since costs associated with turnover and recruitment are positively associated with wages, Avalere estimates higher ROI in higher-wage industries. On the flip side of that same coin, lower ROI was associated with industries that typically have a lower investment in ESI and wellness programs, lower wages, and lower employee participation in ESI and wellness programs.
The full report including the methodology can be found here.
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