Among large employers, 36% say that expanding access to mental health services is a priority in 2021, according to the Business Group on Health.

As many workers continue to telecommute this fall, offices are incorporating more digital methods to spread the word about benefit options.

Rather than hold in-person meetings to introduce employees to the menu of insurance benefits, more employers will host webinars, post prerecorded online video presentations or send out documents outlining benefit choices, said James Bernstein, a partner at Mercer.

Taking it a step further, some employers are hosting virtual benefits and health fairs, replicating events typically held at the office. Employees may, for example, visit a website on which they can click through various online “booths” to learn about the resources available to them, Bernstein said.

Continuing a trend from the past few years, employers are adding more types of health plans to their benefit choices.

For 2021, just 22% of large employers will offer a high-deductible health plan as the only option for employees, down from 25% in 2020, 30% in 2019 and 39% in 2018, according to the Business Group on Health.

And particularly during a pandemic, “there’s a real recognition that health benefits are as important, if not more important, than they’ve ever been. I think there’s a bit of reassurance that while there are some distressed industries, the vast majority of employees will not see reductions in benefits,” said Julie Stone, managing director of health and benefits for consultant Willis Towers Watson.

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