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Benefits news you may have missed: May 4-8

From the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare costs to commentary on how HR leaders need to step up with benefits during the pandemic, here are some of this week’s top stories.
By: | May 8, 2020

Benefits and the pandemic: Are you stepping up? It’s easy to make a business case for robust benefits, rewards and compensation in a strong economy and a hot job market when employers are competing for the best talent. It’s much harder to do so during an economic and health crisis, but it’s far more important. Read more here.

Coronavirus could lower healthcare costs for employers: Companies’ costs may fall by as much as 4% due to employees forgoing non-essential medical care during the pandemic, according to consulting firm Willis Towers Watson. Read more here.

Big employers turn to telehealth options during COVID-19: Boeing, Chipotle, Circle K and KinderCare partner with virtual care provider 98point6 to help deliver care to employees during the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

Starbucks employees turn to Headspace app to ease COVID stress: More than 68,000 Starbucks employees in the U.S. and Canada are now using Headspace, the daily meditation and mindfulness app, the companies said during an Instagram Live video. The coffee giant rolled out the app as a benefit for its employees in January, but the resource has been especially helpful as its workers deal with new stresses from the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.

Employers falling short on mental health help: Nearly two-thirds of employees of all generations say they do not feel their employer offers benefits or programs that help support or improve their mental wellbeing during this uncertain time, according to research from MetLife. A look at what the statistic means for HR leaders. Read more here.

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HRE soundbite: Mental health barriers ‘won’t go away’ after pandemic: Big Health CEO Peter Hames sounds off on why he hopes the pandemic will inspire a change in mental health support. Read more here.

Employees’ 401(k) balances drop: Average 401(k) balances dropped 19% during the first quarter, according to analysis from financial services firm Fidelity Investments. Read more here.

Coronavirus resource spotlight: Big Health’s mental health tools: A look at Big Health’s mental health resources—the Daylight and Sleepio apps—which are now available free of charge for employers during the pandemic. Read more here.

Harmonizing patient-centered outcomes and employer health strategies: Here’s how employers can align their interests in patient-centered outcomes more effectively with their benefits planning objectives. Read more here.

HRE soundbite: COVID to ‘affect mental health more than anything that’s ever happened’: Morgan Stanley CHRO Jeff Brodsky sounds off on the pandemic’s impact on the workplace. Read more here.

Kathryn Mayer is HRE’s benefits editor and chair of the Health & Benefits Leadership Conference. She has covered benefits for the better part of a decade, and her stories have won multiple awards, including a Jesse H. Neal Award and honors from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and the National Federation of Press Women. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Denver. She can be reached at kmayer@lrp.com.

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