9 Employee & Health Care Trends for Nonprofits


More than ever, nonprofit employers are grappling with how to best take care of their employees given the events of 2020.

  • COVID-19 exposed several weaknesses in our health care system, especially the vulnerability of people with chronic conditions. According to the CDC, 6 in 10 adults are living with at least one chronic condition including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

  • Efforts toward greater social equity must include health care outcomes. Employers also must be aware that certain communities and cultures tend to use their health benefits differently.

  • Internal conversations about health benefits are changing. Employers are increasingly focused on choosing health plans that address these underlying issues and provide their people with better outcomes.

AHRIC recently hosted a panel of experts to help nonprofits understand the market and social forces that are shaping their health benefits choices. Here are 9 trends these experts identified:

Trend #1: Record Premiums

The average annual health plan premium for a family is now about $20,000. Employers contribute within a range of $12,000-$18,000, leaving their employees to pay $4,000-$7,000 a year, on average. Record premiums have more employers focused on health plan value – ensuring they get their money’s worth in care for their people.

Trend #2: Marketplace Confusion

There is more and more consolidation within the health care industry. Insurance carriers and providers are now within the same organization. Pharmacy giants like CVS are joining up with insurers like Aetna. At the same time, there are new players like boutique insurer Oscar that are vying for your health benefits business. For employers, it’s challenging to keep up with these shifting sands.

Trend #3: Shift to Value-Based Models (a.k.a. Managed or Accountable Care)

The health care industry is slowly shifting away from the fee-for-service model, which makes money by ensuring more surgeries or bed days in hospitals. Instead, the industry is moving toward value-based models, which invest in people’s health to prevent or minimize health crises.

Trend #4: On-demand Primary Care

Retailers, tech giants like Amazon, pharmacies, and entrepreneurs are filling a demand for primary care that the traditional health care market hasn’t met. Services like CVS’ MinuteClinic are popping up because they make it easier and faster for families to access primary care vs. waiting for appointments from a primary care provider. One of the tenets of managed care is to encourage low-cost, high-touch points so that you can discourage high-cost, facility-based touchpoints in the future.


Trend #5: More Competition for Your Dollar

The competitors in the primary care market fall under one of three categories: 1) traditional, hospital-based systems like Honor and Banner, 2) tech companies and entrepreneurs who seek to provide low-level, easy access care for people 24/7, and 3) the direct-to-employer model where employers bypass insurance companies and cut deals directly with health care providers to potentially cut cost and increase value to employees.

Trend #6: Growth in Pooled Health Benefits Plans

Self-funded health plans pool the risk of numerous employers and use their collective size to secure better rates and services from administrators than they would by going through an insurance company on their own. When managed well, these plans also give employers the chance to 1) design custom services that better meets the needs of employees, and 2) remove barriers that their people face in accessing health care. Like traditional plans, self-funded plans are regulated by state and federal authorities.

Trend #7: Focus on Whole Person Wellbeing of Employees

COVID-19 has many nonprofits hyper-focused on the safety and wellbeing of their employees. This trend goes beyond increased testing and protective equipment. It also includes more listening to employees to understand the limits of what they can achieve now, and to give them more flexibility and time to decompress. In addition, the pandemic highlighted how essential nonprofit employees are to the mission, leading many nonprofits to seek new and creative ways to increase compensation and benefits.


Trend #8: Younger Employees with Long-term Expectations

Nonprofits are seeing an increase in employees, especially younger ones, who view nonprofit work as a lifelong career. These employees tend to have more education and certification in the nonprofit space than other colleagues. While they don’t expect to be compensated at a corporate rate, they do expect fair compensation, benefits, and advancement opportunities, as well as work-life balance.


Trend #9: Focus on Leading Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging

A culture that reflects diversity, equity, inclusion & belonging is a critical part of the nonprofit value proposition to its employees. In the health care space, this means investing in plans than make it easier for all people to access care and get support – whether that’s mental, behavioral, or physical health. This approach not only helps employers create a more equitable community, but it also helps improve employees’ overall health and drive down cost.

It’s challenging for employers to keep up with all the market forces affecting their health plan choices and cost. That’s especially true if you’re a nonprofit on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response.

The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert in all these areas. And you’re not alone. Arizona-based experts like the ones on our panel can help answer your questions about today’s changing health benefits market.

Want to chat about these trends and find the right solution for you? Email david.madden@cbiz.com.