This year, in light of the “great resignation,” which only seems to be accelerating, health benefits are an opportunity to bring employees some much needed peace of mind. But how? We all know health benefits have eroded in value dramatically over the past 25 years, and every year it seems hard to bring employer clients value in the face of rising costs. This is stressful for employers, but it’s creating even more financial stress for employees as their share of the costs keeps growing faster than their wages.
Today, the average American would have to borrow to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense, yet the average employer-sponsored individual health insurance plan has a deductible of $1,644. This means that any moderate to severe health issue can strain a family’s finances. Is it any wonder that now with an ongoing pandemic, 40% of employees are considering finding a new job with better benefits?
A stronger health benefit program can help boost your recruiting and retention efforts by promoting your team’s health and productivity. It’s the number one benefit category that employees care about, so we need to make every dollar count.
Here are a few strategies to get more out of every health benefit dollar—
- Find savings by tailoring health plan options to specific employee groups. Workforce expert Lindsay Pollack reminds us that today’s workforce is home to five generations working side by side. Carefully tailored benefit packages designed to meet the different needs of these groups can help lower costs and ensure that employees can find a solution that fits their budget.
- Choose a health plan that delivers quality care for less. Explore plans with smart networks and if necessary, consider negotiating direct relationships with providers. Dave Chase, founder of Health Rosetta, shared how one company in Orlando, FL was able to lower their healthcare costs so dramatically that they invested 5% of their savings in their local community, paying for preschool, daycare, after school programs, and college tuition for kids in a crime-ridden neighborhood. As a result, they saw crime drop 78% and the highschool graduation rate is now nearly 100%.
- Offer (and consider funding) a supplemental health plan. Some employees are well served by health insurance with a lower monthly premium and a higher deductible; however, out-of-pocket costs can strain the employee’s finances if they are sick or injured during the year. A supplemental plan can help ease the burden of cost-sharing by putting extra cash in the employee’s hands when health issues strike. Just be sure the supplemental health plan covers a wide range of injuries and illnesses, and think carefully about how you present this option to employees.
Don’t make the mistake of offering a new benefit without doing sufficient education during the enrollment period. “One piece of advice we often give out is to bring voluntary benefits from the end of enrollment to the beginning. Be prescriptive about how you are going to implement these benefits and present them to employees,” says NFP’s voluntary practice leader, Kim Heald.
- Introduce innovative solutions that reward healthy behavior. Give employees control and reward behaviors that keep them healthy such as preventive care, exercise, and good dental hygiene. Beam Dental, for example, offers a connected toothbrush that rewards good brushing habits with discounted rates at renewal.
- Make primary care as easy as possible. Primary care is the least expensive but most powerful healthcare when it comes to catching issues early and promoting wellness. Look for health plans that include first dollar copays for primary care visits in addition to free preventive care services. Solutions like One Medical and Eden Health are doing a lot to make primary care even more accessible.
Regardless of whether you change your major medical health plan, taking small steps to fine tune your approach to plan options, enrollment, primary care access, and supplemental plans can help ensure your employees value your health benefits program. If employees know they can access and afford the healthcare they need this year, that peace of mind can be a powerful retention and recruiting tool.
There's still time to build Brella’s supplemental health insurance plan into your benefits offering. Get in touch with our team to learn more.