Typical small and midsize U.S. employers seem to be doing what they can to keep existing benefit plans in place.
Kara Hoogensen, senior vice president for specialty benefits at Principal Financial Group Inc., gave that assessment of the benefits market in a recent interview.
The COVID-19 has led to massive economic disruption and an increase in unemployment levels since March, but most of the small and midsize employers that offered substantial benefits before the pandemic say they’re continuing to offer similar benefits packages, Hoogensen said.
“It’s wonderful to see that small businesses are so focused on taking care of their employees,” Hoogensen said.
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Employees at small and midsize employers “are more than employees,” Hoogensen said. “They’re families.”
Hoogensen based her assessment both on what she’s seeing at Principal and on the results of an online employer survey. Dynata helped Principal get survey responses from 511 employers that offer either health insurance or retirement plans as employee benefits.
About 20% of the employers participating in the survey had 2 to 19 employees, 20% had 20 to 59 employees, 20% had 50 to 499 employees, and 40% had 500 or more employees.
Principal found that 89% of the participating employers intend to maintain or improve their health benefits.