We are now at the end of January 2022, and there are further trends in 2022 for Group Benefits that are becoming clear. Staffing changes, rising long term disability insurance rates, and the impact of inflation on cost of services are already a reality for employers.
Competitive job market hiring and staffing challenges
Employers have had to deal with the roller-coaster of pandemic waves and business closures which has had a huge impact on the workforce. Some workers were laid off, or temporarily laid off, and in many cases, getting them back has been a challenge. In the US, “The Great Resignation” has become the moniker for the fact that many thousands of workers are not returning to work. They may be choosing other careers, or retiring early. In Canada, there has not been a “great resignation” of the scale seen in the US. Workers are coming back to work or are looking for work.
Still, times are quite challenging for employers in some sectors who are facing staffing challenges. Issues with the supply chain have exacerbated their problems in knowing how many staff to retain while waiting for products. Among younger workers, many gave up on finding and keeping jobs and have enrolled in post-secondary institutions to pursue their education goals.
Employers are more focused now on how to attract and retain employees, and group benefits are part of their strategies. Promoting their company’s benefits packages is becoming a necessity to attract employees and differentiating themselves from the competition.
Increasing Long term disability insurance rates
Long term disability (LTD) insurance claims are going to continue to rise in 2022. More mental health issues, burnout, and the delays in both diagnoses and treatments for some patients are exacerbating this, as well as the higher infection rates of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. The strain on Alberta’s health care system has placed many individuals with cancelled surgeries and procedures at greater risk of starting or extending long term disability insurance claims.
Inflation and cost of services increases
Canada’s inflation rate this month has reached 4.8%, a new 30-year high. While this is still well behind that of the US which is 7%, Canada’s inflation is impacting the cost of services from healthcare providers such as dentists, chiropractors, and physicians. These costs are due to the extra expenses faced by providers for Personal Protective Equipment and sanitization.
Overuse of Care
In addition, medical costs will continue to increase in 2022 due to a leading cause of “overuse of care”. It is estimated that overuse of care is at 64% due to medical professionals recommending too many services or over-prescribing. This is followed by excess of care by insured members estimated at 59% and the under-use of preventive services at 38%. The top three conditions contributing to these costs were cancer, cardiovascular conditions, and musculoskeletal issues.
Virtual health care that is integrated with in-person care, as well as the continued expansion of mental health and wellness services are among the 2022 trends that underscore a collective urgency for employers and their workforces.
The other expected trends in 2022 include: ongoing attention to health equity, quality and value; a re-imagining of workforce well-being to support emerging needs, and a heightened focus on health policy.
At Health Risk Services, we closely follow industry news to see how changes in the workplace and the wider culture are affecting Employers and Employees. We help our clients find the right benefits solutions for their workforce while maintaining sustainability and retention of their valued employees. We would like you to know more about how Health Risk Services can assist you with a 2022 plan to address these trends, so please schedule a Complimentary Consultation with us.
At Health Risk Services we will Empathize, Educate, and Empower you and your team in 2021! To schedule your Complimentary Consultation with Health Risk Services, please call 403-236-9430 OR email: [email protected]