4 Important Employee Health Trends for 2021

COVID-19 Impact on Employer Costs and Planning

The world shifted in 2020. So has employee healthcare.

Each year, Springbuk publishes the Employee Health Trends report based on all the data flowing into our health intelligence platform from more than 4,000 employers.

With all the data at hand, our experienced data scientists, analysts, clinicians, and health strategists analyze the extensive data sets, looking for compelling stories that help employers understand not just the “what” in their data, but the “why.”

This report defines four trends and examines their potential to change the game for employers and benefits consultants going forward:

Greater Reliance on Telehealth

Starting in the spring of 2020, many healthcare providers quickly began upscaling their telehealth options in response to ongoing lockdowns, sheltering in place, reduced medical services, and public anxiety around visiting doctor’s offices and hospitals in general.


Increased use in newborns to 17-year-olds


Increased use in individuals over 65


Of encounters used for mental health visits

Lower Demand for Emergency Care

While COVID-19 patients in hospitals dominated the headlines in 2020, patients using emergency rooms to address low-acuity issues shifted to other non-emergent sources.


Less ER visits in April 2020 compared to April 2019


Decline in low-acuity ER visits in April 2020


Decline in non-emergent ER visits in April 2020

Decrease in Elective Surgeries

In 2020, some people postponed their elective procedures out of fear of contracting COVID-19, while others were forced to postpone due to government restrictions on those types of surgeries.


Decrease in PMPM spend


Decrease in ENT procedures


Decrease in GI procedures

Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Springbuk data consistently surfaces the growing demand for mental health and substance abuse (MHSA) benefits. Employees are looking for help and employers are seeing the immediate and long-term benefits of these services to reduce stress, absenteeism, and rising medical costs.


Increase in alcohol and substance treatment in men over 50


More treatments of MHSA conditions for women than men


Of children/adolescents cost driven by Anxiety, ADHD, Adjustment Disorders, and Depression