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Health Insurance and Wellness Benefits

Health benefits can include health and dental insurance, as well as on-site wellness centers, on-site fitness centers, subsidies for joining a gym, and/or health- and fitness-oriented programs for employees’ children or spouses.

Benefits to Employers

  • Reduces payroll taxes and workers’ compensation premiums, and employer contributions are tax- deductible
  • Improves recruitment
  • Increases retention, reducing turnover costs

Benefits to Children

  • Improves health through increased access to health care, including primary care, dental care, needed healthcare services, mental health care, prescriptions, preventive care, treatment for chronic conditions, and prenatal care (for mothers)

Benefits to Parents/Families

  • Improves health, through increased access to health care, including greater access to primary care, preventive screenings, ambulatory care, prescription medications and chronic disease care; greater medication adherence; and higher rates of diagnosis
  • Reduces depression
  • Improves self-reported health
  • Improves family economic security

Range of Practices in the United States

In 2017, private employers with fewer than 500 employees paid an average of 64 percent of health care premiums for their employee family coverage, and state and local governments with fewer than 500 employees covered an average of 72 percent of family coverage premiums. Private employers with 500 workers or more paid an average of 76 percent of health care premiums for employee family coverage, and state and local governments covered an average of 70 percent of premium costs.

Relatively few employers (13 percent) offer health insurance benefits to part-time workers.

Health care costs are prohibitively expensive for many American workers. A survey of the Federal Reserve Board showed that 44 percent of Americans could not cover an emergency expense of $400 or more, and only 30 percent of Americans with access to employer health insurance coverage are confident they can afford health care without financial hardship.

Two out of three employers with fewer than 50 workers offer dental benefits, and 97 percent of employers with 50 or more employees offer dental benefits to their employees. Of those, 67 percent contribute toward the cost of the coverage.

Forty-seven percent of firms with fewer than 50 employees and 82 percent of firms with 50 or more employees offer vision benefits to their employees. Of those, 54 percent contribute toward the cost of the coverage.

In 2017, 63 percent of public sector employees and 39 percent of private sector employees had access to wellness resources and/or a general wellness program. Access varied widely by industry. Additionally, access was lower for lower- wage workers. Only 15 percent of workers whose wages were in the lowest 10 percent had access to wellness programs.

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