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Health Insurance formAlthough most of the employers surveyed said they plan to offer the same health care benefits in 2021 as they had this year, the full impact of the pandemic is not yet known.

The economic downturn that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic is causing companies to take a new look at their benefit packages, a new study from Gallagher’s concludes. The “seller’s market” of employee benefits—which led U.S. employers to compete for talent by offering generous benefit packages, is changing rapidly, the report suggest, as companies balance the demand for benefits with new budgetary realities.

The Gallagher’s 2020 Benefits Strategy and Benchmarking Survey Report gathered data from 3,921 employers from December 2019 to May 2020, and also used data from “pulse” surveys in April and July 2020. The researchers found that companies are responding to economic stress with a range of strategies. The first reaction was to cut payroll, the data suggests, but the survey found companies are also re-examining their approach to benefits.

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