Employers and Employees: Thankful for Benefit Flexibility

Benefit Trends Executive Health November 24, 2020

Bags of cranberries and cans of pumpkin have appeared in grocery stores nationwide. In the wake of a difficult year, plans to safely gather with others this holiday season and give thanks, are starting to materialize. Amidst the many trials and tribulations of this past year, gratitude for the good things is more important than ever. This month, we honor the spirit of the Thanksgiving season with a look at seven reasons employers and employees may be thankful for healthcare benefits and specifically benefit flexibility.


Even before the pandemic and economic crises swept the world, 73% of employers reported that reducing employee stress was an organizational priority. [1] Yet amidst a nerve-racking 2020, additional business challenges and employee needs have emerged. Leading advisers and at least 40% of employers have reported that it has been necessary to look beyond traditional benefits approaches in order to successfully address these needs and challenges. [2] Supplemental healthcare solutions designed with benefit flexibility can provide employers with the range and scope capable of protecting their workforce now and in the future.


Meeting evolving needs requires benefit flexibility that one-size-fits-all primary healthcare plans can’t deliver. However, employers can fill coverage gaps, provide additional support and manage health plan costs by leveraging supplemental health insurance benefits. As an increasing number of employers shift to high deductible health plans to protect their bottom line, compatibility with HSAs becomes more important. Fortunately, robust supplemental plans that are HSA-compatible are available for a range of benefit budgets.

Carve-Out Coverage

Not all employee needs are created equal. Age and stage circumstances, the pressures of certain roles and the need to protect key leadership all make benefit strategy increasingly complex. Benefit flexibility can make a huge difference in addressing employee needs, especially when employers can decide who and what to cover. As excepted benefits, supplemental healthcare insurance plans are exempt from compliance with many of the federal laws that regulate primary health insurance plans. This empowers employers to proactively meet the health needs of key leaders with plans that offer coverage for executive physicals and travel support. But executives aren’t the only employees who need support. Cost-effective plans that close the coverage gaps for broader employee populations and offer targeted support for specific needs have a place in the toolbox as well.

Employee Engagement

Employee stress is sky-high: 74% of employees report being stressed about at least one aspect of their well-being. [3] Organizations that are focused on navigating through and beyond the pandemic must focus on improving engagement and loyalty. [4] Providing the right support helps employees feel more valued, engaged, productive and respected. [5]


Benefits matter and healthcare coverage is the most desirable benefit a company can offer its talent. [6] With two-thirds of employees reporting greater stress than before the pandemic, [7] the right benefits are more crucial than ever. Offering employees smart supplemental healthcare benefits can give them new reasons to be thankful.

Support for Mental Health

There has long been a stigma associated with mental health, especially in the workplace.  While a more holistic attitude toward health among younger generations is helping to remedy this stigma, it persists still. With so many employees experiencing high levels of stress, effective support for mental health is key to emerging from this period. Many employers offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), but there are limits to coverage and visibility that may put truly effective support out of reach for some. A proactive approach that combines coverage, awareness and access to mental health and well-being support is crucial in providing employees with the level of help they need when they need it.

Coverage for Wellness Treatments

Many employees have needed (or currently need) additional support to cope with the demands of work and home this year. Wellness support can help reduce stress, combat burnout, and exemplify employers’ understanding of what their employees are experiencing, during a pandemic or otherwise. According to Willis Towers Watson, nearly half of employers are enhancing healthcare and wellness benefits during this time of crisis. [8] Employees appreciate this kind of employer empathy: nearly seven in ten employees who work in companies with a strong culture of health, report that such support increases the company’s appeal. [9]

Coverage That Closes the Gap

The financial strain that comes with out-of-pocket healthcare costs is real. Premiums are climbing, deductibles are increasing and coverage for routine care and Rx is shrinking. These surges in healthcare spending outpace growth in workers’ earnings. [10] As a result, even insured adults can face difficult decisions to delay or forego care, which can worsen health outcomes. Supplemental health insurance benefits can close coverage gaps and reduce out-of-pocket healthcare spending, which can lower employee financial stress.


Appreciation: very similar to thanksgiving. The right benefits can serve as a lasting reminder of an employer’s appreciation every time an employee uses them all year long. In fact, nearly 60% of employees agree that health and holistic benefits increase loyalty. [11]

Feeling like there’s room at the table for a different approach to benefits? Learn more about the benefits flexibility of ArmadaCare’s fully insured supplemental healthcare plans for employees at every level and employer benefit budgets of all sizes.

[1] MetLife US Employee Benefit Trends Study, 2019

[2] HR Executive, 2020

[3] MetLife, 2020

[4] MetLife, 2020

[5] MetLife, 2020

[6] HR Executive, 2020

[7] MetLife, 2020

[8] HR Executive, 2020

[9] EBA, 2020

[10] KFF, 2020

[11] MetLife, 2018

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