With a pandemic continuing to shift the landscape, businesses would be well-advised to stay on top of new trends in healthcare and benefits. In 2021, what will a good benefits package look like? Chances are, the most competitive packages will have changed significantly from what we previously considered benefits as usual.

A Continued Focus on Telehealth

While some plan providers have signaled that they’re moving away from the all-telehealth focus we saw in mid-2020, patients have indicated clearly they’re not done with virtual healthcare. And the growing innovations in wearable health technology have expanded far beyond FitBits. Now, we’re looking at a thriving digital health scene which includes at-home monitoring of chronic diseases and acute needs.

Combined with a continuing pandemic which makes patients wary of preventive care or sick visits to the doctor’s office, Telehealth will only continue to grow. Employer-provided plans which offer easily accessible virtual care, through phone and video physician visits, are going to be in high demand.

A New Focus on Mental Health

2020 has been a banner year for mental health awareness—if only because so many people are facing unprecedented levels of stress, depression, and worsening mental illness on their own. Lockdowns, quarantine orders, and continuing pandemic conditions have taken their toll on American workers, with record numbers reporting new and recurring issues.

Employers have responded with access to meditation apps, mindfulness programs, and EAP. A continued expansion of these programs will be part of forward-thinking plan providers, including better access to mental health practitioners to help employees cope with another demanding year.

Personalized Benefits

Stepping outside of the healthcare box has never been so important for employers. Voluntary benefits which take a package from the basics of medical coverage to include financial wellness, education and professional development, even childcare assistance — ranging from on-site daycares and preschools, to online tutoring sessions for kids at home in virtual learning programs — are all strong contenders for a competitive benefits package in 2021.

Personal protections, such as insurance gap coverage and legal insurance, are also helping employees sleep better at night. Learn more about some top choices for benefits here.

Paid Time Off

If you’ve got it, you know the benefits. If you’ve ever lived without it, you know how tough it can be. Paid Time Off is a hot topic during this pandemic year, as workers who can’t give up any hours from their paycheck are struggling to take care of children while schools or daycares are closed, to get to a doctor’s office for healthcare, or even to quarantine if they’ve been exposed to illness. Some states and municipalities have begun passing mandatory Paid Time Off regulations.

Companies which already offer PTO may be looking at their policies and changing things up in the coming year. While many companies combined sick leave and vacation days into one bank, that trend may be reversing as it becomes more necessary to get employees to use their sick leave and stay home from work, reducing the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses around the workplace. Unlimited PTO, which eliminates payouts and carryover, is also a rising trend to simplify Paid Time Off policies.

How will your company respond to the rapidly changing benefits climate? Stay on top of all your policies and plans with help from WBD. Our benefits administration platform makes it easy for employees and HR alike to communicate, get information fast, and choose the right benefits for their needs. Contact us for more on how we can help your company thrive through constant change.

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