Sometimes it’s easy to maintain the status quo and keep chugging along. The problem is, if you allow this to happen to your employee health benefits plan you’ll end up with a sub-par plan. Employee benefits are dynamic and if they’re not changing with the times, chances are your plan will come up short for your employees.
Traditional benefits won’t cut it
For many years, employee health benefits were a rigid, cookie-cutter insurance product that was only within the reach of large corporations. Coverage was usually standard and didn’t take into account the different demographics, lifestyles and family types of your employee base.
In some cases, the “benefit” isn’t really considered a benefit to many workers. For a young employee base with no dependents, life insurance isn’t really that much of a reward. Consider someone that suffers from chronic back pain who has a traditional employee benefits plan with modest coverage levels for each benefit: once the coverage limit for massage therapy is reached, having coverage for speech therapy isn’t helpful for the back pain. Traditional employee health benefits lack the flexibility to really support employees.
An outdated plan may cost you
You may not realize it but having an outdated employee health benefits plan can negatively impact your business. Some things to consider:
- Productivity – Employees who aren’t healthy and supported are less productive than those that are. If your plan isn’t actively supporting the physical and mental health of employees, you’re probably getting a lower level of productivity than they are capable of.
- Recruitment and Retention – If your health benefits plan is lacking when compared to other plans, chances are you’re missing out on attracting and retaining the best employees. Studies show that the quality and type of coverage is often a deciding factor for prospective employees. Studies also show that employees who are happy with their employee health benefits plan are more likely to stay with their employer.
- Morale – An outdated employee health benefits plan can have a negative impact on morale. Employees may feel undervalued and unsupported. They may also begin to view the company itself as antiquated. Poor morale can affect many areas of the business.
A Valuable Employee Benefits Plan
A valuable employee health benefits plan means both you and your employees believe it has worth. For your employees it may mean that their physical and mental health is supported. They are covered for life’s challenges and they believe that their employer cares about them. For you, it’s valuable when it positively impacts your business. It may do this by improving productivity, helping you attract the best employees or improving your employee retention rate.
Some factors in building a plan that is valued by you and your employees:
- Customize – Move beyond a cookie cutter plan to offer a plan that really does meet the needs of your employees and your workplace.
- Ask for Input – Find out what benefits your employees really want. Consider surveying employees so you can deliver a plan that has value to them.
- Provide Flexibility – Make use of shared maximums or other tools that allow employees to have more choice around how their benefit dollars are spent.
- Fill in the Gaps – Consider including a health spending account (HSA) as part of your plan. An HSA can help cover co-pays and deductibles as well as provide additional coverage for benefits that are most used.
- Build Cost Control into the Plan – Protect the sustainability of your plan over the long term by including cost control mechanisms in the plan design. Consider cost control that targets prescription drugs and disability as these are two of the largest cost drivers.
The other big piece to building a plan that employees value is providing innovative benefits. These are the non-traditional benefits and perks that let employees know that you’re a progressive organization.
A simple example is virtual healthcare. Virtual healthcare means employees can access a doctor or nurse practitioner using technology. Because it is virtual, it is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from anywhere in the world. This service gained a lot of momentum during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and has become a valued benefit because it’s convenient and efficient. It can also mean that employees have better health because they now have better access to healthcare. Adding virtual healthcare to your plan is an easy choice.
Another less traditional but highly valued benefit is access to an Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP). An EFAP is meant to support the mental health of the employee and their families. It includes free short-term counselling and access to many tools and supports for many of life’s challenges. In an age where the stigma around mental health has begun to lift, more and more employees appreciate easy access to mental health support.
These are just a few examples of innovative employee health benefits. The key is to find a provider that can identify gaps and create new and innovative benefits to raise the bar.
Good Advice is Key
Is your employee health benefits plan lacking? Are you unsure of how to change that? 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 has affordable benefits packages that work as hard as you do.