Trends in Employee Health Benefits, Balance Finances and Wellness

Trends in Employee Health Benefits, Balance Finances and Wellness

Oct 07 2015

Providing your employees with first-rate health insurance is a key strategy for attracting and retaining excellent employees.

Cost is an important consideration, which explains the annual arm-wrestling match between the benefits manager and the CFO.

Instead of viewing your health care investment as a necessary evil, you can actually help your business thrive, while adding additional value for your employees, when you tap into these health care trends:

1. Control premiums by finessing benefit plans.

Medical inflation is on the rise, but you can keep costs under control with smart solutions that play well in the board room and in the employee lounge.

  • Couple a high deductible plan with a health savings account or health reimbursement arrangement. This account-based approach not only controls premiums, it also takes the “sting” out of employees’ deductibles by offsetting some or all of the costs.
  • Develop a strategy to control pharmacy costs. The cost of specialty drugs is expected to quadruple before 2020. A thorough update of your benefits and utilization guidelines will help your business today and over the next five years.  

Equip employees to become consumers.

Employees with high deductibles or cost-sharing are paying more out-of-pocket than ever before. Most don’t realize they can shop for care. They may unwittingly pay double—or triple—the costs by choosing a high-priced provider.

You can help by giving them information and tools to comparison shop for screenings, tests and procedures. For example, Priority Health’s Cost Estimator tool gives members cost and quality information for the 300 most frequently used services. It even suggests lower-cost alternatives within easy driving distance.

Create a healthier workforce.

Healthy employees are happier and more productive. When your workforce includes Millennials, aging Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y, a one-size-fits all approach won’t make the grade.

Instead, combine a culture of wellness with targeted health management.

  • Consider a plan that provides incentives for improving health. Typically these plans begin with a health risk appraisal, which raises employees’ awareness of their health risks. Then the plan provides financial motivation to stay healthy or make measurable health improvements.
  • Choose a health plan that’s focused on healthy living so you can offer employees healthy “perks” like discounts on fitness equipment, onsite biometric screenings and even health coaching.
  • Give unhealthy employees the care they need. Those with chronic issues such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease will become better employees (and incur fewer costs) if they keep their conditions under control. Look for a plan that provides health management for chronic conditions and customized care for the sickest of your employees.

When it’s time to renew your health plan, don’t depend on the status quo. Instead, ask your agent to help you make your benefits a key differentiator for your company.