February 16, 2021

Apex Benefits Benchmarking 2021


Apex Benefits identified several trends with employee benefits in its 2019 Indiana Employee Benefits Benchmarking Report.

How will those trends apply to 2021? And what other benefit options will become priorities this year?

Paid Parental Leave

Our 2019 report showed that just 29.8 percent of Indiana employers offered Paid Parental Leave – significantly lower than the 52 percent of employers nationwide that offered the benefit.

While Indiana has some catching up to do, there may be a few reasons why we could see more Indiana employers offering Paid Parental Leave in the newest report.

First, studies have shown the utilization of paid parental leave led to a decrease in health care costs for the infants that were a part of the benefit plan. It’s not just about mothers getting paid leave; fathers can enjoy benefits from paternity leave too.

A father taking leave for two weeks is more likely to be directly involved with child care, and the increased engagement will help both the father and child build a healthier relationship.

Second, nearly 2.2 million women left the workforce in 2020, mostly related to COVID-19 issues. What’s a way to attract and recruit women back to the workforce, and specifically your organization?

Paid maternity leave.

A study from the Longitudinal Study of Youth found that paid parental leave increased the likelihood a mother will return to her job by 69 percent when compared to mothers who don’t have access to paid leave.

“Given the economic state of 2020, we have more employers in 2021 asking about paid parental leave,” Apex HR Consultant, Associate Counsel and DE&I Officer Brooke Salazar said. “Paid parental leave is coming back hot in 2021.”

Mental Health Benefits

Countless studies have shown the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged 2020 took a toll on employee’s mental health. This happened for a variety of reasons:

  • Employee or family member became sick with COVID-19
  • Employee was furloughed; or spouse lost their job
  • Employees experienced isolation during social distancing

Employees struggled mentally with the pandemic, and data from the Indiana Department of Health showed more than 800 Hoosiers died from drug overdoses during the first six months of 2020. In that same time, emergency room visits due to overdoses increased by 53 percent from 2019.

The same data set indicated that 2020 saw a 700 percent increase in the demand for addiction services.

Our 2019 report showed 62 percent of employers offered Employee Assistance Programs; however, only 35.5 percent of Indiana employers said enhancing resources available to improve mental health and treat substance abuse was a priority.

Overall Health Care Costs

One of the reasons Apex provides this benchmarking report is to help Indiana employers see where they can improve their benefit plans while attracting and retaining top talent.

Our 2019 report showed a 29 percent increase in median PPO family deductibles, and a 4.8 percent increase of Indiana employee PPO premium rates. We likely believe rates will continue to increase in Indiana and the country.

That’s just a small sample of the data our benchmarking report provides for Indiana employers to provide guidance toward designing a better benefit plan. To gain this information, consider submitting to our 2021 Indiana Employee Benefits Benchmarking Survey.