Retirement & Financial Planning Report

fedweek.com | fehb premium hike 2018

A survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute has underscored the value of health insurance coverage as a workplace benefit, finding it to be what workers value most about their jobs after pay and even above retirement benefits.

While the survey did not directly involve the Federal Employees Health Benefits program, the results are consistent with surveys of federal employees regarding that program. The most recent of those found that nine-tenths considered the FEHB to be important or extremely important and that all but a few percent said the program meets needs to a moderate or great extent.

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It also comes just as federal employees who are not enrolled have a chance to join it during the annual open season, and for both employees and retirees who are enrolled to change their coverage.

In a survey asking respondents to pick three out of eight options other than pay, “quality health care coverage” was chosen by 40 percent, just above work-life balance and the related topic of work flexibility. Retirement savings programs and paid time off in contrast came in at 30 percent while opportunities for advancement for example was cited by just 22 percent.

Further, “Health insurance is the benefit employees say contributes most to their feelings of financial security. Nearly two-thirds of employees say their health insurance ‘contributes a lot’ to their security,” EBRI said.

The report also showed, as did similar assessments over the prior five years, that six-tenths of employees are satisfied with their balance of pay and health benefits—and that the rest are about evenly split between those who would accept a reduction in pay for more health coverage vs. those who would accept a reduction in health coverage for higher pay.

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