Creating an employee benefits package that provides your employees and their families with the support that they need without placing undue stress on the organization is a fine balancing act. Employee benefits continue to rise in cost — much more than the average cost of living increases can cover. Organizations are continually looking for ways to provide a comprehensive benefits package that is still affordable for employees, which can feel extremely difficult at the best of times. Here are some tips from benefits professionals to help you combat the rising cost of employee benefits without negatively impacting their coverage levels.
High-Deductible Health Plans
High-deductible health plans — when paired with a Health Savings Account or HSA — have been growing in popularity over the past several years as a way to ameliorate the rising costs of health care. While they are not for everyone, high-deductible health care plans provide the vast majority of Americans with a reasonably-priced alternative that still offers the coverage that people who are generally healthy need. The money in an HSA belongs completely to the individual and is not lost year over year if it is not used. Deposits grow over time and can be withdrawn without a tax penalty for healthcare-related expenses. Since these plans are less expensive than traditional plans, they can save both employers and employees a significant amount of money.
Efficient Pharmacy Plan Usage
Providing pharmaceutical support for your employees is another rapidly rising cost of healthcare. Instead of limiting benefits, consider requiring pre-authorization for specific classes of medication. This provides you with a way to efficiently manage your pharmacy plan usage when even generic drugs constitute a dramatically rising cost. Any time formularies are changed, it’s important to let your employees know so they can work with their doctors to adjust their regimen if needed.
When employees understand that their use of health care plans impacts the entire organization, they may think twice about over-utilizing services. An added benefit of HSAs is that they can raise awareness of the total cost of healthcare. This transparency benefits employees and employers alike, as the majority of costs associated with the benefits are being charged directly to the employee. This can be an eye-opening experience as employees begin to see the value of the services that they’re utilizing over the course of a year.
Lifestyle Management and Telehealth
Bringing lifestyle management to your workforce can be a tricky proposition and one that truly depends on the culture of the organization. If you have an employer that is willing to invest upfront in creating a wellness plan, the long-term outlook for the organization is much greater as employees opt into the program. Telehealth programs are similar — it can take a bit of time and education before your staff buys in to the idea of “phone a doc” being an acceptable alternative to visiting a clinic or hospital.
These cost-effective options to in-person care and wellness initiatives allow you to reduce the overall cost of healthcare over time and still maintain a high level of employee benefits for your staff.
Keeping your employees happy, whether they are a brand new member of the team or a long time associate should be a top priority.
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