Sponsoring an employee health benefits plan for your organization is a big deal. It can be a large expense but it’s definitely a worthwhile investment. The biggest challenge can be finding the right provider. Every benefit plan and every provider are different – the key to getting the most out of your investment is to choose the right employee health benefits provider for your organization.
What is an Employee Health Benefits Provider?
An employee health benefits provider is the company that you purchase your benefits plan from. They design and service the plan and your organization over the lifetime of the plan. An employee health benefits provider either insures the plan directly, or works with an insurance company to ensure your plan.
Not all employee health benefit providers are alike. There can be vast differences in service, support, products and rates. The right provider should be client-focused, aiming to provide the best plans and the best service. They should aim to give you the most for your benefit dollars. Make sure to hold out for a provider that includes its own administration platform, mobile app, support framework and accessible service teams.
The Right Provider has the Right Benefits
In addition to the big picture, the right provider also has to have the right benefits. When you decided to sponsor a plan you were probably trying to support the mental and physical health of your employees. You probably wanted the plan to help with your recruiting efforts and encourage employees to stay with your organization. The right employee health benefits provider must offer the right benefits to support those goals.
Remember: the right benefits will likely change over time. New and innovative benefits will be necessary to keep the plan current and to help with recruitment and retention. A few examples of more innovative benefits available in the market today include:
- Virtual healthcare – Virtual healthcare means employees have the opportunity to connect with a doctor or nurse practitioner using technology. Virtual healthcare is available 24/7, 365 days a year. Many of the health concerns typically treated in a doctor’s office can be addressed with virtual healthcare. Employees with access to this benefit report that it is easy to use, convenient and effective. Although it is not a new service, virtual healthcare as a benefit became very valuable as people dealt with physical distancing and restrictions during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) – An employee and family assistance program is a comprehensive support system for the mental health of employees and their families. It usually includes online access to articles, toolkits and podcasts for a wide range of topics, such as: divorce, anxiety, stress, eldercare, childcare, financial challenges and more. Even more important, employees and their families can call the program to talk to a real person, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. A hallmark of the program is free, confidential, short-term counselling.
- Accident and Serious Illness (ASI) – Accident and Serious Illness coverage is an innovative benefit that takes traditional Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage to the next level. It still covers accidents and dismemberment but adds important coverage for serious illness. Employees with this coverage can receive a lump sum payment if they have an accident, but also if they have a serious health event like a heart attack or are diagnosed with life-threatening cancer.
Finding the Best Match
One of the most important decisions you make is which employee health benefits provider you choose to purchase your plan from. You definitely want to make sure that they are willing to partner with you to provide the benefits. This means finding a provider that can work with you and alongside you to provide excellent service and support.
You also need to make sure that they have the same philosophy as you. For example, at GroupHEALTH our philosophy is to deliver a benefit plan that can be a long-term, sustainable fit for your organization. This means focusing on:
- Best Value – We provide quality benefits that are financially sustainable. Many organizations that offer discount prices have to drastically raise the price at renewal – that’s not how we operate. You get the right price at the right time.
- Cost Containment – We know that containing costs before they skyrocket is essential. That’s why we build cost containment into the plan. This means providing options to utilize a central dispensing pharmacy or a managed formulary to target prescription drug costs. We also work at containing costs by including disability management services with disability plan coverage. These services help shorten the length of a disability claim and get employees back to work as soon as they’re able.
When searching for the right employee health benefits provider, it’s a good idea to look for referrals. Talk to other organizations to get info on the service and support they receive from their provider. Changing benefits plan providers frequently is expensive and brings with it unnecessary work – take the time to find the right provider that you can stick with over the long term.
Good Advice is Key
Are you on the hunt for the right employee health benefits plan provider? Do you know what your choices are and which type of provider would be the best fit for you? Explore your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone, 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 has affordable benefits packages that work as hard as you do.