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Nearly half of health care employers view retirement planning for caregivers and people with special needs as a key priority

Supporting caregivers can help create competitive advantage for providers

Five actionable insights for plan sponsors and employers

  1. Offer a financial wellness program with specialized retirement planning solutions that can help caregivers and people with special needs find a balance between living for today and planning for tomorrow.
  2. Incorporate access to specific employee benefits—such as paid family care leave, disability/long term care insurance, HSA/FSA, etc. These benefits can be especially vital to caregivers and people with special needs and disabilities.
  3. Initiate Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for people with special needs, disabilities and caregivers to harness the power of peer-to-peer support and help create a more inclusive environment.  
  4. Provide access to an Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) with services specific to caregivers and people with special needs, which can help improve work-life balance. 
  5. Offer child care and caregiving support for parents and health care workers who are impacted by COVID-19.

As a mother, registered nurse and unpaid caregiver to her brother with special needs, Jill has what most would call a “full plate.” She represents the one out of every five Americans who identify as a caregiver to a loved one with special needs or disabilities.1  Like most (80%) caregivers, Jill experiences increased stress and anxiety because of the physical, emotional and financial demands of her dual roles; and this was before COVID.2 

Since COVID-19 began impacting the U.S., Jill and others in the special needs community have reported significantly more concern than the general population (67% vs 60%).3 

Along with more anxiety and feelings of isolation, almost three out of every four caregivers share apprehension over their family’s economic wellbeing amid COVID-19— compared to a little more than half (61%) of general population.4

Fortunately, many health care organizations are becoming aware of the pressure facing caregivers and are beginning to offer the type of support they need. To explore these trends within the health care sector, Voya Financial®, in collaboration with the American Society for Health Care Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA) of the American Hospital Association (AHA), recently conducted its first annual survey on retirement plans across the industry.

Let’s take a closer look at a few trends from the 2019 Voya health care report to understand the caregiver crisis and how health care organizations can offer the support these essential health care workers need.

Supporting caregivers and people with special needs in health care

Health care workers who are caregivers offer unpaid care to aging parents, family members or loved ones with special needs or disabilities. And considering the average caregiver spends up to 32 hours each week handling bills and insurance issues, navigating care options, sitting on hold for scheduling and updating family members; it’s easy to see how these duties can take their toll.5 

Even prior to COVID-19, the importance of accommodating caregivers as well as people with special needs and disabilities in the health care workforce was apparent.

 

Yet, only 6% of health care organizations actually offer planning services for these individuals as a part of their financial wellness program. While 25% of health care organizations plan to offer these programs within the next twelve months, the large majority of health care organizations have no plans to create initiatives for this underserved and often overlooked population.

Health care organizations can win by supporting caregivers and employees with disabilities

In today’s competitive landscape, health care employers can no longer afford to ignore the needs of caregivers and employees with disabilities. The minutes, hours and days of productivity that are lost because of stress, reduced concentration, doctors’ appointments and more can add up very quickly over time to cost health care organizations in a number of ways — from quality of care to potential legal ramifications.

However, when health care organizations offer tailored employee benefits to meet the unique needs of the special needs community, the organization can position itself for success. A few key advantages of doing so include:

  • Open an untapped source of dedicated workers for health care organizations.
  • Create a more inclusive and diverse employee base while helping to enhance the productivity of these employees.
  • Reinforce the forward-thinking culture of the organization while being perceived as a benefits leader that cares about the well-being of its employees.
  • Offer a competitive advantage in recruiting top talent in an uber-competitive labor market.

Recently, Voya market research assessed the complex realities and needs of caregivers in the workplace to help inform employers on the effects and how to best support them. A few of the top benefits that caregivers expressed heightened interest in are listed below:

Improving the financial wellness for caregivers and people with disabilities

Most — if not all —of the previously mentioned caregiver benefits can be bubbled up into one category: financial wellness. And one important takeaway from the 2019 Voya health care report is the growing importance of financial wellness in the health care sector today.

Health care organizations should consider offering a holistic financial wellness program that assesses and supports the overall financial health of individual employees. Such a program should include developing a culture of support and inclusion by offering specific benefits for employees with special needs and their caregivers, including offering financial support services such as savings vehicles.

Voya Cares® helps caregivers and people with special needs with tailored planning support

As a key component of Voya’s holistic financial wellness offering, Voya Cares offers resources, guidance and support to help employers create a more supportive and inclusive environment while helping caregiving employees map out the future they envision for their families.

Through integration with myOrangeMoney and our Financial Wellness Assessment, employees can self-identify as someone who would benefit from Voya Cares support, and then we can provide resources accordingly. And so far, of those who have engaged with the myOrangeMoney special needs guidance feature, 34% of individuals took action.6

Reach out to your Voya Relationship Manager to learn more about Voya Cares or our other suite of financial wellness solutions tailored for people with special needs and caregivers.

 

Products and services offered through the Voya® family of companies.

1 Caregiving in the U.S.: 2020 Report. AARP and National Alliance for Caregivers, May 2020.

2 “For the Benefit of All: How Organizations Win When They Recognize and Support Caregivers and Employees with Disabilities”, Voya Financial, May 2019, voyacares.com/forthebenefitofall.

3 Caregiving and Special Needs in the Time of COVID-19, Voya Consumer Insights, June 2020.

4 Ibid.

5 The Journey of Caregiving: Honor, Responsibility and Financial Complexity, Age Wave/Merrill Lynch, 2017.

6 Voya internal data, as of 12/31/19.

 


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