Employee Benefits
in a COVID-19 World
Survey Report

The coronavirus has brought major changes to the workplace—including shifts to employee benefits and the average worker’s health care and retirement benefits. The Employee Benefits in a COVID-19 World: April 2020 Survey Report survey report examines what employees can expect for employee benefits as their organization adapts to the pandemic.

Prescription Drug Plans Are Changing to Reduce Barriers
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, 35% of employers have extended the time allowed under prior authorization periods for prescription drugs, 30% have increased quantity limits and 12% have waived prior authorization requirements.

Mental Health Benefits Are Increasing
Recognizing that employee mental health during this time is a serious concern, 12% of employers have added telepsychiatry, allowing employees to access mental health services virtually. Additionally, 9% of employers have reduced or eliminated costing sharing for mental health benefits and 6% have relaxed or eliminated eligibility requirements.

Nearly All Employers Are Offering Telehealth Services
To help workers receive medical care while reducing their risk of COVID-19 exposure, nearly all employers are offering telehealth services. Prior to the pandemic, 88% of employers had telehealth services in place. Since then an additional 10% of employers have implemented or are considering implementing telehealth. To encourage the use of these services, half of employers (49%) have reduced or eliminated cost-sharing for telehealth due to the pandemic.

Some Employers Have Reduced or Suspended Matching DC Contributions
For organizations that provide matching contributions to their employees’ retirement plan, 2% have reduced the matching contribution and 8% have suspended it. An additional 19% report that they have not yet made changes but are considering it for the future and 11% say it is too early to tell what changes they will make.

Employers Are Implementing DC Plan Changes as Permitted by the CARES Act
The CARES Act allows employers to make changes to their defined contribution retirement plans (such as 401(k) plans) to help workers financially affected by the crisis. Many employers have made these changes as part of their COVID-19 response effort.

A Significant Number of Employers Have Furloughed or Laid Off Workers
Due to the pandemic, employers across a wide range of industries have made difficult changes to their workforce. The report found that 31% of employers have temporarily furloughed workers, 29% have reduced worker hours and 21% have laid off workers or reduced their workforce.

Health Care Benefits for Furloughed and Laid Off Workers Varies By Employer
Employers are handling health care benefits for furloughed employees in a variety ways, including COBRA, and cost-sharing adjustments.


Download the Report


The Employee Benefits in a COVID-19 World survey report is exclusively available to members of the International Foundation. Learn more about all the benefits of membership here.

Members of the media can request a copy of the report from brendah@ifebp.org 



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