Best Companies Maintain Health and Wellness Benefits
Posted by Michelle V. Rafter
on January 17 2014
By Michelle V. Rafter
As far as benefits are concerned, health care is one of the biggest. It’s no wonder that when people are job hunting, after compensation, health care is one of the first things they ask about.
These days, it’s important to ask. As health care costs continue to rise - albeit more slowly than in years past - some employers have reduced the portion of employee health care coverage they pay for.
That hasn’t been the case for the majority of businesses that made it into the ranks of the 2014 Best Companies to Work For. Ninety-seven companies on this year’s list pick up at least 60 percent of the cost of employees’ annual health care premiums, and 68 pay for 80 percent or more of those costs.
Health Care Coverage
The realities of rising health care costs, however, mean that even the most generous companies have cut back some. In the past two years, the number of Best Companies that cover 90 percent or more of employees’ health care premiums fell close to 22 percent, to 25 from 32.
A dozen companies on the 2014 100 Best list continue to cover 100 percent of the cost of their employees’ health care premiums. One of them is FactSet Research Systems, Inc., which also picks up 100 percent of the tab for dependent coverage.
At the same time, the vast majority of Best Companies continue to cover a wide variety of other health benefits. More than 9 in 10 top workplaces offer dental, vision, mental health, and prescription drug coverage as well as coverage for alternative treatments such as acupuncture and chiropractic care.
It’s also become more common for companies to help employees cover fertility treatments. In fact, 68 companies on the 2014 Best Companies list offer coverage for fertility treatments, including Houston Methodist, Arnold & Porter, and Robert W. Baird & Co.
Health and Wellness Screenings
As health care costs creep up, more top workplaces are offering health and wellness screenings and other incentives to keep employees fit and feeling good.
Of the 2014 Best Companies, virtually all (95 percent) offer employees flu shots, including Baptist Health South Florida and Novo Nordisk, Inc.
More than eight of 10 offer periodic screenings for high blood pressure (86 percent) and cholesterol (84 percent). Fewer offer regular screenings for breast cancer (48 percent), skin cancer (43 percent) and prostate cancer (30 percent). The employee wellness program at Cooley, the nation-wide law firm, includes biometric screenings and health assessments, as well as free on-site flu shots, and sponsorships for teams for local running and walking events.
Some companies also sponsor employee wellness plans or annual wellness challenges to stay fit. For example, USAA, the San Antonio-based military insurance and financial services provider, runs an annual wellness event called the Eagle Games where employees compete in individual and team events and earn points to reduce their health care premiums.
GreatRated contributor Michelle V. Rafter is a freelance journalist covering job hunting and workplace issues. Find her online at @MichelleRafter or www.michellerafter.com, or contact her at