Why employers need to offer benefits to informal caregivers - Employee Benefit News

March 28, 2017

More than one in six U.S. employees has a secondary job their employer might not know about: informal caregiving for a relative.

As the older adult population in the U.S. is projected to nearly double in size by 2050 from 48 million to 88 million, employers need to expect that employees might be distracted with the financial and emotional burden of caring for a relative and are looking for support in the form of peer support groups, medical tools, flexible schedules and more.

In fact, 23% of employees are spending 41 hours or longer each week caring for a relative, according to a new report from the Northeast Business Group on Health. On average, employees spend four years in the role of caregiver and 24 hours a week providing caregiving assistance.

Employers test benefits for unpaid caregivers - Crain's Health Pulse

March 21, 2017

Companies are expressing a growing interest in helping their employees care for elderly or disabled loved ones, according to the Northeast Business Group on Health.
With lost productivity and turnover from caregiving costing U.S. employers $38 billion per year, members of the employer-led coalition are trying out new approaches to address caregivers’ needs, including expanding partnerships with providers and implementing more flexible leave policies, according to a report released this month by the business group and AARP.

CBS Corp., Goldman Sachs, consulting group EY, Northwell Health and other major employers based in the New York City area participated in a roundtable discussion about their caregiver benefits that helped inform the report.

One of the biggest challenges employers face is reaching out to a new generation of caregivers, said Dr. Jeremy Nobel, medical director of NEBGH and one of the authors of the report. Millennials now make up 25% of caregivers, according to a 2015 AARP report.

“In that population, caregiving is not something people talk about every day,” said Nobel.

On the plus side, he said, there are more and more digital tools that millennials may find appealing to help with such tasks as monitoring relatives at home and managing their meals, rides and other logistics.

“One of the challenges is a lot of the digital providers are not that familiar with contracting with employers,” said Nobel. “They are typically more in a direct-to-consumer business model.”

Employers could also leverage their purchasing power to make paid caregiving more affordable and easier to manage for employees, he added.

CBS, for example, subsidizes services for employees through Bright Horizons, which offers families “backup” care for children and elders when other arrangements have fallen through. CBS is also among the companies leveraging existing benefits to address the needs of caregivers by making services such as its Health Advocate program available to employees’ parents and in-laws.

“The ROI argument is that whatever it costs to put the mind of the caregiver at ease and put the loved one in high-quality care will also put the employer’s mind at ease and build employee loyalty,” said Nobel.

NEBGH is in the early stages of its investigation, said Nobel. The group plans to release more specific findings and recommendations by the third quarter of this year. —C.L.

Benefits for caregivers can curb healthcare costs, boost productivity - HR Dive

March 16, 2017

A new report from the Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH) says that offering benefits and services to caregivers has big payoffs for both workers and employers. According to the report, caregiver benefits have the potential to increase productivity by lessening burdens on care providers, decrease caregivers’ healthcare costs through subsidies and attract and retain talent who are, or might soon become, caregivers.

Press Release

Supporting Caregivers in the Workplace is a Good Investment for Employers, Says Northeast Business Group on Health

March 15, 2017

Employers need to be aware of the potential pay-offs for offering benefits and services that make caregiving an easier burden for employees to bear, says a new report from Northeast Business Group on Health (NEBGH). The report, “The Caregiving Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities for Employers”, says that maximizing productivity, reducing future employee healthcare costs, and competing and retaining talent are among the reasons employers should consider specific policies and services designed to help employees who are providing care to loved ones. Challenges to better supporting these employees include resistance to being labeled as a “caregiver,” the absence of best practices for employers and the need for buy-in from executive management.

How ACA replacement will affect employers - Crain's Health Pulse

March 8, 2017

The Republicans’ Affordable Care Act replacement includes plenty for employers to like. The so-called Cadillac tax on generous employer-sponsored coverage would be delayed to 2025, and the mandate that companies with 50 or more employees must offer affordable coverage would be eliminated, which will be cheered by employers in that range who don’t want to offer insurance.

“That will likely be a relief for those companies,” said Laurel Pickering, president and chief executive of the Northeast Business Group on Health.

But Kathryn Wylde, president and chief executive of the Partnership for New York City, another business organization, cautioned that the conversion of Medicaid to a per-capita financing system could strain New York state’s budget so much that employers might feel the pain. “There’s some private sector relief, but a major public sector impact,” she said. “In New York that usually means we raise taxes. Seldom does the state scale back benefits that they’ve already promised people.” In other words, while New York business owners might benefit from the repeal of ACA-created taxes on health insurance and people earning more than $250,000 a year, those gains could be erased if state and local governments raise taxes to support Medicaid expansion.