Nearly half of U.S. workers have purchased at least one new health care benefit in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

COLOMB, Georgia., October 18, 2021 / PRNewswire / – As Enrollment Season Approaches, New Data Shows U.S. Employees Now Believe Expansion of Health Care, Telemedicine, and Extended Insurance Coverage Is Bigger Today today because of the pandemic. According to the 2021 Aflac WorkForces report, nearly half (44%) of all U.S. employees have purchased at least one new health benefit in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with half of them adding insurance. life. About one-third of respondents said they purchased critical illness insurance services, hospital benefits, telehealth services or mental health resources.

(PRNewsfoto / Aflac)

Nearly half of American workers have purchased at least one new health care benefit in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Aflac, a leading provider of insurance and supplemental products in the United States, conducted its 11th annual national online survey of 1,200 benefit decision makers and 2,000 employees in the United States. The aim of the survey is to capture industry trends and the attitudes of American employers. and employees regarding the state of health care benefits in America.

“Last year’s Aflac WorkForces report showed that the pandemic was a wake-up call for workers to consider spending more time and effort in researching health care benefits during the period. registration open. Now we see that this red flag has turned into action, “mentioned Matthew Owenby, director of human resources at Aflac. “This year’s survey demonstrates the heavy impact COVID-19 has had on the opinions and actions of American consumers regarding their health insurance and financial security, which was even stronger for those who actually had a COVID diagnosis- 19 positive. “

Positive COVID-19 test strongly influenced benefit decisions

The survey found that respondents who tested positive for COVID-19 were more likely than other respondents to purchase at least one new health benefit. Specifically:

  • 38% purchased life insurance compared to 16% without a COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • 29% bought a hospital versus 9% without a COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • 26% bought a critical illness versus 12% without a COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • 24% purchased mental health services compared to 10% without a diagnosis of COVID-19.

“COVID-19 is always a priority for employees, and they are looking for ways to help offset the financial burdens they have suffered or feared over the past 17 months,” Owenby added. “Financial vulnerability will continue to be a concern during this year’s open registration season, as rising health care spending continues to affect Americans in these uncertain times.”

While the pandemic has presented many challenges for Americans, it has also amplified the fact that disease can strike at any time and that affordable health care is a necessity. Almost a third of respondents (29%) said the pandemic had made them more aware of the costs associated with healthcare – causing them to change when deciding healthcare benefits.

Recognizing this need, more than half (51%) of all American workers consider additional benefits such as critical illness insurance, which provides additional coverage to help close the gap on specific health issues that the Health insurance may not cover it, as an essential part of a comprehensive benefit program and an overwhelming majority (90%) believe that the need for additional benefits is increasing.

Are employers missing the mark? How benefits weigh on job satisfaction

Delivering solid benefits while on budget continues to be the most important challenge for benefit decision makers. Over half (60%) of employers reported seeing an increase in benefit costs over the past year, which had a negative impact on their business plans, including improving the quality of their benefit programs, the granting of bonuses and the offer of increases. However, despite these rising costs, most employers plan to maintain their existing health insurance coverage.

This strategy may not bode well for employers. When it comes to satisfaction with existing benefits, the survey found a glaring lag, as employers have an exaggerated sense of employee satisfaction with the benefits they offer. More than three-quarters (76%) of employers say their employees are satisfied with their benefits, when in fact, only 61% of employees say they are satisfied.

An overwhelming majority of employers (81%) believe their workforce is able to meet their health care obligations financially, but almost half (46%) of employees say they couldn’t pay more than $ 1,000 for medical expenses, and a similar proportion (52%) could not go without pay for more than a month.

Anxiety is a fact of life linked to COVID-19

According to the survey, half of all American workers reported having great anxiety about health care costs beyond what their insurance covers, with 1 in 3 American workers reporting that their personal mental health has taken a hit. a negative impact on their performance at work over the past year. Essential workers are 1.75 times more likely than non-essential workers to say their mental health has negatively affected their job performance in the past year (42% vs. 24%). Not surprisingly, anxiety is highest among the younger generations, who have higher levels of financial frailty.

Additionally, about half of all working Americans currently experience varying levels of burnout based on key demographics. Specifically, young workers (Gen Z, 64% and millennials, 60%), essential workers (58%) and those who have been personally affected by a diagnosis of COVID-19 (59%) are currently more likely to suffer burnout. Women (67%) are also more likely than men (56%) to have experienced a burnout in the past.

“The Aflac WorkForces report makes it clear that maintaining the status quo with employee benefits may not serve employers well,” said Owenby. “Paying close attention to the well-being and mental health of employees and providing them with the benefits they need is more important than ever in helping employees feel protected and valued, which in turn helps improve performance. productivity, strengthen engagement and reduce stress. “

To learn more about the Aflac WorkForces 2021 report, visit

About the 2021 Aflac Workforce Report
The 2021 Aflac WorkForces report, produced by Kantar on behalf of Aflac, is the 11th annual study examining benefits trends and attitudes across United States in various industries and business sizes. The employer survey took place online between June 28 and July 14, 2021, and captured responses from 1,200 employers. Employee survey collected responses from 2,000 employees between June 28 and July 16, 2021.

For a full survey methodology, please contact Darcy Brito at [email protected]

Aflac Incorporated (NYSE: AFL) is a Fortune 500 company helping protect over 50 million people through its subsidiaries in Japan and the United States, where it is a leading top-up insurer, paying cash quickly when policyholders become ill or injured. For more than six decades, the insurance policies of Aflac Incorporated’s subsidiaries have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. Aflac Life Insurance Japan is the leading provider of cancer and medical insurance in Japan, where it provides 1 in 4 households. For 15 consecutive years, Aflac Incorporated has been recognized by Ethisphere as one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies. In 2021, Fortune included Aflac Incorporated on its list of the world’s most admired companies for the 20th time, and Bloomberg added Aflac Incorporated to its Gender Equality Index, which tracks the financial performance of state-owned companies committed to supporting business. gender equality through policy making, representation and transparency, for the second year in a row. To find out how to get help with expenses that health insurance does not cover, contact us at or

Media contact – Jon A. Sullivan, 706-763-4813 or [email protected]

Contact analysts and investors – David A. Young, 706.596.3264, 800.235.2667 or [email protected]

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