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The Aon Health Survey, 2021 and Beyond

A New Era of Inclusive, Virtual and Personalized Care

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues apace, businesses have continued to adapt. The balance between planning for post-pandemic business and protecting employees has been the major focus. Trends that emerged in 2020, such as remote work and a focus on employee mental health, have continued. Health benefits have had to respond.

Our Survey

We surveyed more than 250 professionals from companies of all sizes. Their responses on topics such as Strategy, Plan Designs, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) point to trends that can help employers with their benefits planning.

Firms were asked to rate the effectiveness of their own Health and Benefits strategy. Larger firms were more likely to rate their plans as "highly effective."

Here are eight features more likely to appear in plans that employers rate as "highly effective" (9 or 10 on a 10-point scale).

Figure 1
Some Features of Health and Benefit Strategies Are More Likely to Be Part of Current Plans for Employers Who Rate Their Strategy as "Highly Effective"

  • 1 Preferred arrangements (e.g. ACOs, COEs)
  • 2 Expert medical opinion
  • 3 Offer expansive array of programs
  • 4 Digital self-management tools
  • 5 Account-based plan as total replacement
  • 6 Third-party concierge navigation
  • 7 Personalization/ navigation through benefits admin vendor
  • 8 Design incentives for optimal providers

 

Strategy – HR leaders' focus returns to building market-leading programs

The start of the pandemic saw a small increase in employers seeking to experiment with new health strategies. In the past year, some of those firms returned their attention to designing ‘Good to Great’ market-leading programs, the current goal of two-thirds (63%) of firms.

Figure 2
How Firms Describe Their Future Health Strategy
Figure 2 - How Firms Describe Their Future Health Strategy


DE&I – Affordability of healthcare is a top 3 priority

Employers are fighting to attract and retain talent. Many recognize that creating the right environment is key, and that includes healthcare and benefits.

Figure 3
Over the Next 3 Years, DE&I Priorities Are:
Figure 3 - Over the Next 3 Years, DE&I Priorities


Plan Designs – Embracing new approaches to optimize outcomes and affordability

As part of their ‘Good to Great’ strategies, firms are looking to leverage new plan designs and features to support employees and improve plan efficiency wherever possible.

Figure 4
Future Plan Design Focuses On Steering Participants to Optimal Solutions
Figure 4 - Future Plan Design Focuses On Steering Participants to Optimal Solutions


Employee wellbeing – Mental health remains the most critical wellbeing issue

For the second year in a row, mental health was ranked as the most important wellbeing issue by employers. This reflects both the work and life stresses inflicted by the pandemic and other factors, but also a growing openness and reduced stigma about addressing mental wellbeing in the workplace.

Figure 5
Perceived Biggest Wellbeing Issues in the Workplace
Figure 5 - Perceived Biggest Wellbeing Issues in the Workplace


Technology – Virtual and digital solutions are shaping the future of healthcare

The pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital and virtual services in both life and work. Healthcare is no exception, with interest continuing to grow in making quality care accessible through virtual channels.

Figure 6
Future Plan Design Focuses On Steering Participants to Optimal Solutions
Figure 6 - Future Plan Design Focuses On Steering Participants to Optimal Solutions

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