Earlier this month, we exhibited at the 2018 Medical Group Management Association Annual Conference (MGMA 18) in Boston. Year in and year out, it serves as a top destination for healthcare leaders and influencers throughout the country.

The main attraction at our booth was simple. You fill out a quick, 8-question survey about employee benefits. We enter you into a raffle to win a brand new Apple Watch Series 4. After surveying 160 companies, we discovered this:

While only 32% of respondents have access to student loan assistance programs, 87% believe this benefit help companies stand out when hiring!

But that wasn’t all we learned. Let's dive deeper into our results to:

  • See how you stack up against other MGMA18 attendees.
  • Demonstrate the growing need for employer student loan repayment programs.

The purpose of our employee benefits survey

Our primary goal was to extract key insights on employee benefits from the conference. In doing so, we wanted to find out:

  • What types and sizes of practices/organizations attend MGMA.
  • What types of employee benefits packages these companies offer.
  • How this influences employee recruitment, engagement and retention.

What size is your practice or organization?

First, we set out to identify what types of these companies these individuals represent.

Size of organizations participating in our MGMA18 survey.

It’s worth noting that many in the "Over 100" category came from massive networks of healthcare providers with thousands of employees. Going in, we already knew these participants would offer robust benefits packages. However, what remained to be determined was this:

  • Would they be the essential employee benefits everyone offers to meet the status quo?
  • Or would they be modern employee benefits that reflect the real needs of today’s healthcare professionals?

In order to find out, let's distinguish between essential and modern employee benefits.

Essential employee benefits most medical practices offer

We asked if you as an employer offer or you as an employee receive:

  • Paid time-off 94% do, 6% do not.
  • Health insurance — 96% do, 4% do not.
  • Vision & dental insurance — 91% do, 9% do not.
  • Short-term disability insurance — 80% do, 20% do not.
  • Long-term disability insurance — 79% do, 21% do not.
  • Retirement plan contribution — 81% do, 19% do not.

This confirms what we already knew going in. These benefits are the must-haves in today's workplace. The essentials. The status quo.

As for the few who didn’t offer these essentials? These were typically private practices with less than 10 employees. So it’s not that they don’t want to offer — it’s simply that they can’t afford to.

Modern employee benefits today’s healthcare professionals need

Consider the following statistics from a study on the student loan debt crisis we recently conducted.

  • More than 44 million Americans currently carry student loan debt.
  • About 75 percent of new doctors in the U.S. graduated with debt in 2017.
  • The average debtor owes $39,400 in student loans, whereas the average doctor owes nearly $200,000.

With this in mind, we asked survey participants:

Percentage of attending organizations that offer student loan repayment benefits.
How MGMA18 attendees believe student loan repayment benefits impact hiring.

While only 32% of respondents have access to student loan repayment assistance, 87% believe these programs help organizations stand out when hiring.

Our findings underscore the power of student loan assistance programs as a:

  • Hiring tool that attracts top talent.
  • Engagement tool that promotes employee satisfaction.
  • Retention tool that keeps your practice moving forward.

Student loan repayment programs require employer buy-in — much like a 401(k) plan. And given the unique financial needs of healthcare professionals, this benefit actually hits a lot closer to home.

Sure, it pops off the page in an offer letter. But it’s also proven that employees are more likely to be engaged when their employer is actively supporting their actual financial needs.

Plugging the disability insurance coverage gap

Typically, the average benefit paid out by an employer’s group disability insurance is any $7,500 - 10,000 per month.

Although certainly generous, it's not nearly enough to accommodate the lifestyle of most doctors. This sheds light on another employee benefit that is widely unavailable to many healthcare professionals today:

  • Short-term disability insurance — 80% do, 20% do not.
  • Long-term disability insurance — 79 do, 21% do not.
  • Supplemental long-term disability insurance — 39% do, 61% do not.

While roughly 80% of respondents have access to short and long-term disability insurance through their employer, only 39% have access to supplemental coverage. That means 3 out of every 5 respondents are on their own when it comes to finding an individual plan.

Even if you cannot offer supplemental coverage, there is a way to set your employees up with preferred rates on individual policies.

For example — shopping through LeverageRx will save you at least 15% on physician disability insurance. (In fact, we've helped some doctors save up to 40% !)

Key takeaways from MGMA18

MGMA18 was our first annual conference with the association, but it certainly won’t be the last. Our employee benefits survey allowed us to:

  • Confirm the essential employee benefits most employers offer.
  • Highlight modern employee benefits today’s healthcare professionals need.
  • Make a ton of incredible connections we look forward to working and collaborating with in the future.

Whether you’re ready to take your employee benefits package to the next level now or later, we look forward to seeing you all again next year.

Congrats to the winner of our Apple Watch Series 4 Giveaway — Amber Manwaring from Mercy Orthopedic Associates of Centura Health in Centennial, Colorado! 

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