Podcast: 2015 National Survey Health Plans

Podcast: 2015 National Survey Health Plans

Podcast: Top Stories From the 2015 National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans

In our first podcast on the 2015 National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, we're joined by Mercer Health & Benefits consultants Joan Smyth and Barry Schilmeister to discuss the top stories from this year’s survey of nearly 2,500 employers across the country. Barry and Joan spoke to us about healthcare costs, plan design, consumer-directed health plans, financial wellness, and other findings that employers large and small should bear in mind.

Joan Smyth, Mercer Health & Benefits Consultant, Mid Market

Barry Schilmeister, Mercer Health & Benefits Consultant, Large Market


Listen to the Podcast

To listen to the full podcast (12:08): click here. 

To listen to the podcast in chapters:

Chapter 1 (3:49): What were the top stories from this year’s survey?
Chapter 2 (3:55): What were some of the most intriguing innovations in the employee benefits space this year? 
Chapter 3 (3:40): What do you wish more organizations and HR professionals understood about the value of a benefits program?

Among this year’s top stories was the explosive growth in consumer-directed health plans: “Almost three out of five large employers now offer a consumer-directed health plans,” says Barry, pointing out that while initially spurred by the impending Excise Tax, the delay of that tax hasn’t slowed the CDHP trend.


With this trend is a change in thinking around health management. “Employers are taking a much broader view around health management in terms of the culture of health and how it affects individual employees from the physical, emotional, and financial point of view,” says Barry. “Taking action in your medical program really does produce results.” 

Employers are also taking a segmented approach to better cater to different employee populations as they take steps to actively foster diversity. More than one-third of large employers are in the process of finalizing a diversity and inclusion philosophy or mission statement. What's more, two-thirds that already have such a statement have tied it their benefits strategy to it. 

Overall, employers are embracing an expanded view of benefits programs by looking at value, rather than just return, on investment. Voluntary benefits and CDHPs help employees handle high deductibles and financial stress, while wellness programs help them stay engaged and productive on the job. This expanded focus applies to smaller organizations as well as large corporations, says Joan, even if they don’t have the resources to purchase services from outside vendors—insurance carriers are responding to the market demand by giving out more “free” services with their core insurance offering.

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