Is it Time to Reset Your Employee Health Benefits Plan?
When your mobile phone or your computer aren’t working right, the first thing to try is reset. This can be a good strategy for your employee health benefits plan too! Sometimes it’s a good thing to ‘reset’ your plan to ensure the plan is the optimal fit for your company and your employees.
Reflect and Evaluate
Start off by taking some time to reflect on your plan and evaluate how it is performing. It can be helpful to write it down so that it’s easier to assess the pros and cons of the plan as it is right now.
Think about your overall feelings about your employee health benefits plan. Are you happy with it? Is the cost of the plan comfortably within your budget? Is the plan the best value for your benefit dollars? Is it meeting your goals?
It’s also important to find out from your employees what they think of the plan. Consider utilizing a confidential employee survey to get honest feedback about the plan.
Set the Direction
Once you’ve spent some time reflecting on the plan as it is now, it’s time to start thinking of what you want the plan to look like in the future. Are some of your past goals still relevant? Do you have new goals or a new direction you’d like to take the plan?
Take some time to think about what you’re trying to accomplish with the plan. Are you struggling to recruit and retain good quality employees? Do you want to use the plan to support those efforts?
You’ll also want to develop a new budget for the plan going forward. Things change, so it’s important to be clear on your budget and how a rate increase will impact it. Look at the types of benefits you’re offering as well; maybe business has been good and you’re able to expand your benefit offerings.
Whatever your situation, it’s always best to have a clear direction and a clear budget. In much of the world economic uncertainty remains – now is a good time to future-proof your plan for maximum flexibility.
New and Modern Benefits
After evaluating your plan, you may decide that a reset it in order. You may have identified new goals and a new direction. For many companies, a new direction likely means including new and modern benefits. In some cases these ‘new’ benefits are actually becoming almost standard. A few that come to mind include:
- Virtual Healthcare – Virtual healthcare means your employees can connect with a physician or nurse practitioner using technology. The service is available 24/7, 365 days a year. It’s easy and convenient. It removes barriers to healthcare, such as travelling to a doctor’s office or trying to secure an appointment after working hours. More than half of the health concerns that typically bring a person into a doctor’s office can be addressed via virtual healthcare. Virtual healthcare means your employees are more likely to address health concerns, which means fewer absences, less presenteeism and higher productivity.
- Accident and Serious Illness (ASI) – Accident and Serious Illness benefits replace and improve upon traditional accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage. ASI includes everything typically covered in accidental death and dismemberment benefits, but adds on coverage for serious illness. This is significant, as serious illness occurs far too often and can have a devastating impact on your employees’ finances. Among others, coverage is provided for serious illness such as heart attack, stroke, life-threatening cancer and more. It’s definitely a better way to support employees than providing traditional accidental death and dismemberment coverage.
- Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) – Providing employees with access to an employee and family assistance program is a critical step in supporting the mental health of employees. An employee and family assistance program means employees and their families have access to support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Employees can phone the program and be immediately connected to a counsellor. Short term counselling for the issue is available after the initial call, either in person or virtually. Extensive online resources are also available. A wide range of topics are covered, including: divorce, childcare, anxiety, finances, and eldercare.
- Health Spending Account (HSA) – A health spending account is a great way to build flexibility into the plan by allowing employees to choose how some of their benefit dollars are spent. You choose how much money is available to the employee in a health spending account, and they choose which eligible health expenses they use it on. This way, if an employee has a bad back and wants additional massage therapy sessions, they can use the HSA to pay for them. Or if an employee has major dental work and they had to pay out of pocket, the health spending account can be used to cover the out-of-pocket portion. Including a health spending account as part of an employee health benefits plan has become very common.
Cost Containment is a Must
If you’re doing a reset of your employee health benefits plan, cost containment should be an embedded part of the new iteration. It’s the perfect time to include cost containment to preserve the sustainability of the plan (especially in times of economic uncertainty).
Each provider is different when it comes to cost containment. At GroupHEALTH we have focused our cost containment on some of the biggest cost drivers. Some of the ways we help contain costs include:
- Smart Rx Solutions – This suite of products target prescription drug costs. These products incorporate a managed formulary, a central dispensing pharmacy or a combination of the two. They’re meant to ensure employees are supported with the prescription drugs they need, while trimming the waste inherent in many prescription drug plans.
- Disability Management Services – These services help you and your ill or injured employee navigate a disability. The employee is supported in getting the help they need, so they can return to work as soon as they’re able. This shortens the length of the disability claim, and also improves the chances of the employee returning to pre-disability health.
- Employee and Family Assistance Program – An employee and family assistance program helps contain costs by providing employees with easy access to support for mental health. When employees have resources, tools and counselling available, mental health issues are more likely to be addressed. This can reduce absences and presenteeism and improve productivity.
Good Advice is Key
Does your employee health benefits plan need a reset? Does your plan effectively support your company as it is now? If not, maybe it’s time to reset and start making the most of your benefits dollars. 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.
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