Healthcare costs are continuing to rise and with it, the costs of employee benefits. While some increase in healthcare costs is inevitable, there are some strategies that HR departments can employ that will help offset some costs. This includes preventative wellness measures and changes in benefits structure that will help keep your overall costs low. 

Develop an organizational culture that has a strong focus on health and wellness.

Health and wellness programs are great for preventative care and can help with early detection of chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension. They also help to improve the overall health of the employees which decreases their time in the doctor’s office.

Offer HMO health plan options.

Insurance carriers are able to negotiate providers’ rates differently for an HMO than for other types of healthcare plans. This is a great advantage because it allows the HMO to charge lower premiums and have lower deductibles. Quality of care is another boon for HMO plans. Better care means healthier employees.

Offer health plans that are consumer-directed.

Consumer-directed health plans (CDHP) combine several strategies for cost saving which can translate to lower healthcare costs. While they tend to have higher deductibles, they also offer health spending accounts (HSAs), flexible spending arrangements (FSAs), medical savings accounts (MSAs), and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) which puts the responsibility and accountability for healthcare spending back on the employee. These programs all have the added bonus of tax benefits.

Manage spousal health care coverage by increasing cost-sharing or implementing limits.

Spousal carve-outs and surcharges are becoming an increasingly viable way for employees’ families to be covered while reducing healthcare costs. Where some employers exclude dependents and spouses completely from coverage eligibility, spousal carve-outs and surcharges are a less aggressive option. It provides the potential for employees’ families to receive benefits, but with eligibility requirements and a surcharge for each family enrollee.

The one danger with these plans is that it is easy to slip over the boundary and violate the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is important that HR departments carefully review the terms and ensure that they line up with all federal and state requirements.

Offer rewards or incentives for health and wellness activities.

Rewarding employees for certain health and wellness activities has long been a very effective tool for encouraging participation – thus encouraging them to take a more proactive and active approach to manage their health. Discounts on gym memberships, rewards for getting regular check-ups, and incentives for engaging in wellness activities such as lectures and classes can encourage employees to get healthier.

Some employers even extend the rewards and incentives to the employees’ families as well. Healthy employees mean lower healthcare costs. It’s just that simple.

To discover how you can lower healthcare costs within your organization, talk to the experts at Innovative Broker Services. Call 866-427-2765 today to schedule an appointment, then visit our website and download our FREE checklist, 8 Easy Steps to Your Best Open Enrollment Ever. Healthcare costs may be rising, but they can be managed. Let us help.