6 Questions to Ask About Every Employee Benefits Plan
Are you considering changing to a new provider for your small business health insurance? If so, you’ll want to think carefully before switching to just any plan.
The reason is simple: launching a new employee benefits plan is no small undertaking. Switching to a new provider or insurer usually takes a lot of time and effort. You have to do your due diligence to choose your new provider; you have to do the work of selecting the plan; finally, you have to communicate with employees, and roll out the plan. All of this takes time and money; both of which you could instead be using to grow your business.
So, before making the switch, there are 6 questions you should ask about every benefit plan.
1. Who’s providing the plan?
Traditionally, employers worked directly with insurance companies to provide a benefit plan for employees. This was the only option, so the choice was really which insurance company you would work with. Sometimes, your chosen insurance company would have some products that worked well for your company, and others that weren’t a great fit. Ultimately, you chose the overall best fit, accepting that “you couldn’t win them all.”
But there are two problems with this scenario. First, most insurance companies have multiple lines of business, not just employee benefits, so they often try to make the employee benefits experience work like the other parts of their business, even when it doesn’t make sense.
Second, insurance companies are good at insurance – but modern employee benefits are way more than that. Employers and employees need options and solutions, and so they need a provider that can provide everything that they need.
By choosing employee benefits specialists (like GroupHEALTH) who focus just on providing an excellent employee benefits experience and have access to a broad selection of coverages and services, organizations get more, not less.
2. Will I be able to customize the employee benefits plan to suit my company’s needs?
Your company is unique, so it makes sense that your benefits plan should reflect that. Making sure that a benefits plan can be customized to suit the needs of your company is critical.
To effectively meet your needs and the needs of your employees, you should be able to pick and choose the coverages and products included in your plan. If you want comprehensive paramedical services, you can have them. If you want flexible dental coverage, you can have that. If you want prescription drug coverage that helps keep costs down, you can do that. A cookie-cutter plan simply can’t do that.
Being able to customize a benefit plan to suit your company’s needs should be a “must have.” Period.
3. Does the plan have great online tools?
Let’s face it, everything is online these days. If you don’t have the ability to administer your employee benefits online, you’re really missing out.
The goal is to ensure that you’re managing your business, not your benefits. Having access to a user-friendly, online administration platform will save the plan administrator at your company a lot of time and effort. A basic platform allows the plan administrator to make regular changes to employee info. But a great platform should be able to do that, and more. Functions such as the ability to pull custom reports, set up notifications and alerts, and view a real-time snapshot of your workforce are just a few of the things you should look for. GroupHEALTH’s WEBS is one of the most powerful online administration systems in the country. Don’t settle for a basic platform.
Next, how about checking if the plan has online self enrolment for plan members? What about e-claims? All of this will save you time and money. It also provides a better experience for you and your employees. This frees everyone up to focus on keeping your company productive and successful.
4. How can you help me control prescription drug costs?
In many plans, prescription drug costs make up a huge portion of the total cost of benefits. For years these costs were rising at staggering rates. It made it nearly impossible for companies to keep offering the same coverage. Companies that didn’t find creative solutions to control the costs had to cut back benefits or discontinue them altogether. You want to avoid this!
Whether by introducing a type of tiered drug formulary, using a central dispensing pharmacy or a combination of the two, make sure any plan you are considering gives you options. It is possible to provide your employees with great prescription drug coverage while also controlling costs.
5. How will you help control my long-term disability (LTD) costs?
Long term disability claims also account for a significant portion of total plan costs. Employees are your biggest asset and you want to support them, but you also have to think about the sustainability of the plan and your company.
You may think there’s no way to control costs, but you’re wrong. You can still support your employees on LTD, while also helping to contain LTD costs. Any plan you’re considering should have a mechanism to do that.
One of the best ways to do this is with early intervention and disability management services. The goal is to help the employee return to work as soon as they’re able – this is the best thing for the employee and your company.
6. How will my employees be supported during the toughest times of their lives?
A basic goal for most employee benefits plans should be to reduce the financial impact of healthcare for employees and their families – whether by helping with dental costs or providing coverage for massage.
But if your plan also offers Life or AD&D coverage, you’re taking that a step further. You’re helping to provide financial security during some of the toughest times in an employee’s life. This means ensuring that your benefits plan is providing adequate support by ensuring that your coverage mix is right.
Does your plan have coverage for serious illnesses as well as accidents (sometimes known as “AD&D insurance”? If a plan member has a terminal condition, can they receive some of their life insurance money before they pass? Is there any way to help with the little expenses like parking fees at the hospital or other non-medical expenses when the plan member is in the hospital?
All of these things can go above and beyond typical coverage, to ensure you’re providing the best support during the toughest of times.
Good Advice is Key
Doing an annual employee benefits audit is a good idea because it helps ensure your plan is still the best fit for your company. We can help you with that. If you’re considering switching to a different plan, do yourself a favour and make sure to ask the six important questions above.
Are you looking for help or advice to audit your current plan or explore a new one? Review your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone or in-person or contact us for a comparison quote.
Whether you’re looking for extended health and dental coverage, disability coverage, or life and critical illness coverage, GroupHEALTH Benefit Solutions has affordable benefits packages that work as hard as you do.
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