66% of employers are beginning to offer HCSAs to more employees at different levels
Organisations in Canada are looking to improve their employee benefits plans this year, as they refocus on three key trends: flexibility, mental health, and virtual health care.
According to The Conference Board of Canada, two-thirds of employers today provide “innovative” health care spending accounts (HCSAs) to allow for more flexibility than standard health care plans.
With HCSAs, employers are able to allocate a fixed amount toward healthcare expenses that are not traditionally covered in standard plans.
In 2019, psychological services, for instance, have been among the most popular benefits added to traditional plans, with an average annual maximum coverage of $800 (up from $694 in 2015), according to the board’s Benefits Benchmarking 2019 report.
The multi-generational workforce
With the average age of retirement rising steadily over the past several decades, employers are facing a multi-generational workforce with a diverse set of needs.
On one hand, the Baby Boomer generation is exhibiting greater longevity in their career and are staving off retirement for much longer. On the other, millennial and Generation Z workers are slowly increasing in number. Each demographic has unique health and wellness requirements.
Employers are thus placing more emphasis on flexible, even personalised, benefits such as:
- Preventative health measures and medicines; and
- Investments in benefits technologies:
- Tele or virtual healthcare and counselling
- Pharmacogenetics; and
- Fitness and wellness apps
“As Canadian employers look to appeal to a multi-generational workforce, flexibility and choice are the key watchwords for health and wellness benefits,” said Monica Haberl, senior research associate at The Conference Board of Canada.
In response, 66% of employers are beginning to offer HCSAs to more employees at different levels, the board noted.
“Supplementing fixed benefits plans with health care spending accounts provides flexibility and choice to employees while keeping business costs predictable,” Haberl said.
HCSAs are designed to keep benefits costs in check, especially since 34% of organisations consider cost containment the top priority in their benefits strategy, the study found.