Health Benefits are a Hot Topic Among Life Sciences Professionals

Health Benefits

What is the quality level of health benefits that you receive from your employer? Have you ever made a choice between organizations to work for based on the health insurance offered? According to the 2019 BioSpace Ideal Employer Report, health benefits are now one of the top three most important attributes life sciences professionals consider when looking for an employer. Over 2,700 professionals were polled and 77% of survey respondents indicated that health benefits are important.* This is in contrast to the previous report, where the aspect of companies having “a good reputation” ranked above health benefits.

The five companies with the highest rankings for health benefits in the Ideal Employer Report were BioMarin, Regeneron, Biogen, Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline. So, why is there an emphasis on health insurance now? To find out more, we interviewed Carrie Richards Leary, a health insurance benefits professional.Carrie mentioned what she commonly sees with clients and the most significant points to discuss when it comes to health benefits.

1. Why do you think health benefits have increased recently when it comes to ranking an Ideal Employer?

I think that health benefits have increased when it comes to ranking an Ideal Employer because I think that people have more chronic conditions. When I say chronic, I am referring to a condition that requires daily or ongoing concern. I am seeing that more people are faced with diabetes, stress and anxiety, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), ADD/ADHD and many other conditions. They need the insurance as they are not able to self-fund these conditions. The importance of having health insurance can help them hedge the cost of the expenses that come with these types of conditions. Some of the medications can be very costly and without insurance, it might just become unaffordable to even get them.

2. Outside of the costs for health insurance, what are some of the top areas of importance that you discuss with clients about their health benefits?

I think the most important area, aside from cost, is the network and the formulary. It is important that if one is paying for health insurance, they are going to be able to utilize it. With my clients, the first thing I do is get a list of their doctors and their prescriptions. All health insurance plans are different. There could be a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO). I want to make sure that the person purchasing the plan knows whether or not they will be able to see their current doctor, and if they can fill their prescriptions at the pharmacy. I want to make sure they aren't in for any surprises. It would be useless for them to pay for a policy that would not cover any of their needs.

3. Do you have any predictions regarding health benefits and how they might change in the future?

With the way things have been going, I am sure there will be changes. But things are just so unpredictable right now, only time will tell.

The 2019 Ideal Employer Report highlights the most desirable organizations as described by life sciences professionals to work at. Health benefits along with interesting and meaningful work and competitive salary were the most important aspects considered. The inclusion of health insurance is new to the list of the top three areas of significance by survey participants. It’s safe to assume that rising costs of health care make it top of mind for professionals and their families. Companies would be wise to start analyzing their comprehensive benefits and compensations packages to remain competitive with their recruiting efforts of employees.

Health benefits professional Carrie Richards Leary also shared her thoughts on what makes health benefits a hot topic right now. Due to the increased rate of chronic conditions of her clientele, different types of health coverage are usually top of mind. Whether or not an employee can continue seeing their doctor of choice and receive their medication (with the appropriate pharmaceutical benefits) is of high significance. No one wants to be surprised to find out that under a new health plan they can’t receive the care they are accustomed to, or get their medication. Are health benefits a top priority for you when considering employment? What questions could you ask a potential employer to ensure that you would receive the right level of health insurance coverage?

Click to download the ideal employer report.

Want to read more about the 2019 BioSpace Ideal Employer Survey? Please click here for more information to see what life sciences professionals feel make an Ideal Employer.

Porschia Parker is a Certified Coach, Professional Resume Writer, and Founder of Fly High Coaching. ( She empowers ambitious professionals and motivated executives to add $10K on average to their salaries.

Carrie Richards Leary is a licensed health insurance professional who has been in the insurance industry for the past 15 years. She takes pride in spending time with her clients to make sure they are fully educated in the health care choices that they choose.

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