In June, CBS reported
some news that employers did not want to hear: “…employers and insurers are expecting a 6% increase in healthcare costs in 2019, in line with the 5.5% – 5.7% increases seen in the past five years.” Employers interested in recruiting and retaining top employees understand the important role of employee benefits in meeting that goal, but now more than ever they must seek innovative ways to optimize health insurance expenses as well as the costs across the entire employee benefits spectrum. So, how can you create a top tier benefit offering for 2019 without paying a top tier price?
Here are a few ideas to consider:
Consider unique plan designs that keep premiums lower but benefits strong. With the increase in High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) and HSA adoption, many employers who have already introduced HSAs might question what their “next move” might be. If increased deductibles are unavoidable, you can offset some of the cost with an HRA. Monster.com’s research reports that “dropping financial support for health coverage can cost your business in employee loyalty and declining employee health, which can lead to lower productivity and higher absenteeism.” An HRA allows you to increase deductibles without placing the burden on your employees.
Encourage short-term cost containment options, such as telemedicine. The average telemedicine visit is significantly lower than an office visit, and some telemedicine providers now have the capability of linking to a patient’s electronic health record. Employers are now using incentives and disincentives to help cut costs. Are there desirable behaviors you can incentivize? Is there a better way to utilize a wellness program to encourage healthier behaviors in employees?
The key to getting the most out of your benefits is education. Why pay so much for something employees do not understand? As innovative plan designs, ancillary accounts, and insurance retirement vehicles become more prevalent, employers need to properly educate employees to be better healthcare consumers. Education should not happen only at Open Enrollment; continuous conversations can be much more effective.
Navigating employee benefit cost challenges is becoming more and more complex, but there are options. Please reach out
should you have any questions!