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March 2024  Volume 22, Number 3        
 

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Evolve Your Benefits as Your Workforce Ages

The makeup of the American workforce is changing drastically. As baby boomers age, the number of employees over 75 continuing to work is skyrocketing at an unprecedented rate. Employers must now reevaluate their benefits packages to meet the needs of an older, more diverse population.

A Surging Older, Somewhat More Diverse Workforce

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the number of workers 75 and older to climb by 96.5% over the decade starting in 2020. This equates to 8.9 million more older adults staying active in the labor force. In 2022, almost a quarter of the workforce — 23% — identify as non-white, an increase from 19.4% just 10 years prior. Employers who adapt their benefits plans to be more inclusive will be better equipped to support the evolving needs of older and minority employees.

Unique Health Concerns

A comprehensive benefits package must address the specific healthcare challenges facing maturing employees. According to the National Council on Aging, nearly 95% of adults over 65 have at least one chronic condition like heart disease or diabetes. Shockingly, 80% are managing two or more chronic illnesses simultaneously. On top of navigating these issues, 25% also have a behavioral health disorder.

As older populations require more personalized care, employers should reassess medical coverage, adding programs that enable access to health resources addressing concerns common amongst older individuals. Enhanced fitness offerings, over-the-counter allowances, and employee assistance programs are simple ways to have an outsized impact.

Holistic Wellness Solutions

Health spans far beyond just physical medical care. In a CVS Health survey, 95% of respondents 57 and older asserted that mental health deserves more societal attention. In response, employers should emphasize holistic wellness when evolving benefits packages.

Offerings like telehealth, counseling, support groups, and stress-reducing activities can make a difference. But simply offering these resources isn't enough. Companies should promote and raise awareness around programs to maximize utilization. Evaluating participation metrics and frequently surveying employees allows you to pinpoint any gaps and continue adapting your offerings. Strong work-life balance policies also demonstrate a commitment to both physical and mental well-being.

The Need for Inclusive Care

Cultural competence has become a crucial determinant of effective healthcare. Studies show marginalized racial groups experience improved patient-provider relationships, communication, and health results when seeing doctors from similar ethnic backgrounds.

As the older adult population grows increasingly diverse, experts advise employers to seek out partners actively committed to health equity. Leverage plans that help historically marginalized individuals access care within their communities. Culturally competent benefits demonstrate that you consider the needs of your whole workforce — regardless of age or race.

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In this issue:

This Just In ... Your Wellness Benefits Aren't Moving the Needle on Burnout

2024 Benefits Trends: What Employers Need to Know

SECURE 2.0 Means Major Retirement Changes in 2024

Stricter New Rules Limit Independent Contractor Hiring

Evolve Your Benefits as Your Workforce Ages

 

 


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