Solutions Profile: Future-proofing an employee health benefits plan for an innovative clean energy company
Sector: Clean Energy
Design a values-aligned benefits plan to help FuturePower LLC, a clean energy utility company, ensure that its professional employees have professional-level coverage while reducing its financial risk.
Based in Toronto, Ontario but with projects and teams in Northern Ontario and the Alberta Rockies, FuturePower LLC* has developed sophisticated wind and water power solutions that are becoming an integral part of the public power utility grid. A mix of engineers, consultants, construction contractors and administrative support teams, the 65-employee organization is entering a stabilization phase that’s driving it to optimize key parts of its back-office business. Early investments are beginning to pay-off, and it now needs to consolidate its gains.
The firm’s current employee benefits plan was purchased a few ago from a big insurer’s group benefits salesperson, and it was geared towards the desk-bound planning engineers that comprised the primary workforce at the time. As FuturePower LLCs field projects have grown, it’s beginning to see a diversity of claims, and its per-employee costs are rising. The discussion at the last renewal with the incumbent benefits provider was not productive – after an initial savings for switching over, the insurer seems content to let premiums keep rising without offering a solution. The firm’s CEO has also received feedback from new members of her executive team that the firm’s benefits plan is not competitive with the public utilities that they left.
The CFO has been tasked with looking into the plan’s financial risk – while also making sure that coverages are comprehensive.
Recognizing that FuturePower LLC needs to address its rising premium-per-employee costs without cutting coverages, the firm’s objective is to find new solutions that allow it to control its costs and tailor coverage for its increasingly diverse employee base.
GroupHEALTH’s expert advisors recognize immediately that FuturePower LLC has been caught in a too-common industry vortex: static employee benefits plans that don’t adjust with the business; bait-and-switch sales tactics that heavily discount up front only to overcharge later; and renewal discussions that make premium increases seem inevitable.
In designing a plan specifically for FuturePower LLC GroupHEALTH’s plan and pricing teams focus on four key concepts:
Introduce key cost containment tools: GroupHEALTH’s experts know that prescription drug claims and disability claims are driving plan price increases. By adding cost sustainability features to their plan like Hybrid ASO (which helps reduce drug cost risk) and DMI Assist (which helps reduce the risk that short term claims become long term claims), FuturePower LLC is offering competitive coverage while improving the plan’s financial performance.
Annual plan analysis to get ahead of risks: Future Power LLC wasn’t getting the information it needed about the performance of its benefits plan to make strategic decisions. GroupHEALTH’s standard practice is to have expert advisors analyze the plan each year to identify trends, benchmark against similar organizations, and recommend cost sustainability solutions to ensure that plan premiums remain stable.
Tailored coverages for different employee groups: as FuturePower LLC has become more complex it has recognized that it needs different coverage for different groups of employees. Different plan designs and coverage limits for administrative teams, field teams and executive teams means that the plan is built for the complexity of the organization.
Paperless service options that reduce the plan’s carbon footprint: key to ensuring the firm’s benefits plan was the right cultural fit is GroupHEALTH’s digital-first philosophy, ensuring that employees in any location have anywhere-anytime access to their benefits plan. FuturePower LLC’s HR team uses paperless tools like Enrol-Me Online and WEBS, an easy-to-use plan administration system, for efficient and effective plan management.
Key Plan Feature: FuturePower LLC employees are mobile: they work in the city and in rural areas, attend conferences and academic events, and travel internationally to gain insight on best practices. GroupHEALTH’s plan comes with industry-leading travel insurance features, including mobile services for anywhere-anytime access, trip cancellation coverage, out-of-country coverage for extended periods of time, and generous medical insurance limits.
GroupHEALTH’s solutions have changed the way that FuturePower LLC looks at their benefits plan: by focusing on cost sustainability and digital-first solutions, they can assess the performance of their benefits plan alongside their corporate performance.