Survey Shows Uptick in Employee Sentiment Toward Employer-Provided Healthcare
Workspan Daily
November 22, 2022
Key Takeaways
  • Trust increasing. In a Nov. 8 American Benefits Council survey, 45% of respondents trust employers to provide quality, affordable health insurance coverage, up 6 percentage points from a similar survey conducted during the 2020 presidential elections.
  • Uphill battle. The Council calls on federal lawmakers to work together on federal benefits standards, but this may be a challenge given the slim majorities that Democrats hold in the Senate and Republicans hold in the House.
  • Achieving federal standards. The majority of respondents — 53% — believe standards for employer benefits should be set at the federal level, but that percentage has trended downward from a high of 60% in 2018.

On the day that Democrats and Republicans were slugging it out for narrow majorities in a divided Congress, employer-sponsored benefits plans quietly received a vote of confidence in election-night polling data released by the American Benefits Council. This is the third such telephone survey the Council has commissioned during a national election and, like past surveys, it gathered views from 800 voters.

Some of the key findings from this year’s results touch on health care, retirement benefits, paid time off and whether the federal government should set benefit levels for employers.

Health care. Among survey respondents, 45% trust employers to provide quality, affordable health insurance coverage. That 45% figure is up 6 percentage points from the 2020 presidential election survey and far exceeds the percentage of respondents who expressed faith in plans purchased in individual markets (18%) or provided by the federal government (18%) or a state government (10%).

Retirement Benefits. Nearly half of respondents — 46% — trust employers most to help them achieve a secure retirement. Significantly, this confidence was expressed by a combination of current employees, retirees and those not in the workforce. 

Paid Time Off. Among respondents, 51% trust employers (rather than the federal or state governments) to ensure an adequate amount of paid time off from work. Among this group, the greatest gains were seen among working women, whose confidence in employers rose 13 percentage points compared to the 2020 survey. It is worth noting this increase occurred during the same period in which the federal government unsuccessfully tried to mandate paid family leave.

Federally Mandated Benefit Standards. The majority of respondents — 53% — believe standards for employer benefits should be set at the federal level, but that percentage has trended downward from a high of 60% in 2018. Over the same period, the ratio of those who believe states and local jurisdictions should set employer benefit levels has increased from 28% to 34%.

Achieving federal standards may be especially challenging now, given that the midterm elections produced a divided House and Senate controlled by razor-thin majorities. But in a statement to the media, the Council encouraged federal lawmakers to overcome the current political situation and work together to set standards that will ensure consistent benefits for all employees.

“Congressional inaction often encourages states to take on matters best left to the federal government, which is best positioned to ensure that employees of the same employer will receive consistent benefits as their coworkers regardless of where they live or work,” the statement opined.

In the same statement, Council president James Klein pointed out that at a time when trust in institutions is at historic lows, support for employer-sponsored benefits remains strong.

“Employer-sponsored benefits are popular because they provide tremendous value — high quality at an affordable price,” he said. “While some policymakers on both sides of the aisle have suggested replacing this system with a government-run solution or by sending everyone to the individual market, we urge the incoming Congress to build on what works and what is already most trusted by voters.”

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