A recent study has found that employers who offer health insurance coverage to their staff had an average return on investment (ROI) of 47%, meaning that for every $1 an employer spends, it will receive $1.47 in benefits.

The analysis by Avalare, a wellness plan provider, and commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, found that firms with 100 or more workers to whom they offer group health benefits gained from increased productivity, reduced direct medical costs (for self-insured firms), tax benefits and improved retention and recruitment.

The study confirms that offering health coverage does more than meet a basic need for your staff. Here’s how the 47% ROI is generated:


Improved productivity (53% of ROI)

Workplaces where group health benefits are offered have higher productivity thanks to reduced absenteeism and sick days taken, as well as less presenteeism. In addition, workers who maintain their health and have access to a health plan or wellness program when they need one are less sick, and hence more productive at work.


Tax benefits (23% of ROI)

Employers that offer group health benefits receive both federal and state income tax deductions, reducing their overall tax bills.


Reduced direct medical costs (19% of ROI)

Employers who offer group health plans in addition to associated wellness programs, tend to have healthier employee populations and spend less on direct medical costs. The analysis found that this combination of group health and wellness programs boosted overall ROI for employers.


Savings from employee retention (4% of ROI)

Another ROI driver is employee retention thanks to the savings involved in not losing employees to competitors. Providing health insurance reduces staff turnover, lowering how much employers have to spend on recruitment, onboarding and training. Add tens of thousands of dollars if you are paying for a new employee to relocate. 


Recruitment costs (0.3% of ROI)

Offering a solid group health plan can also drive down the cost of recruiting as it can positively influence a prospect’s interest in accepting an offer. While the value of recruitment benefits pales in comparison to other benefits, 9% of prospects base their decision to accept an offer on the group health benefits on offer.


The takeaway

While the study focused on health coverage, and to some part wellness programs, employers that go beyond just health insurance by creating and offering a balanced benefit program, have the greatest ROI.

Examples include retirement benefits like 401(k) plans, wellness plans, dental insurance, vision coverage, short- and long-term disability protection, critical illness coverage, accident coverage and employer-funded life insurance.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most businesses considered health benefits little more than a cost to be managed. But the value of health benefits is rapidly changing — and employers need to keep up with the changes and new offerings.

.The Avalere study reinforces what many companies know: Employer-provided coverage helps create a stronger workforce and gives businesses valuable benefits to provide to their employees.

We have the expertise to help you transform your health benefits and programs from an expense into an investment that will help both your organization and your staff thrive.