While this may seem obvious to many, the issue of affording health and welfare insurance is on the rise again. Despite a strong economy in many parts of the world, many employees are having a harder time affording their benefits than they were five years ago. This stems from the additional cost-shifting that has occurred. This shifting includes from social programs to private insurance and/or from employers putting more financial responsibility onto the employees. Deductible and out-of-pocket levels continue to rise, which exposes employees to additional first-dollar risk. This can have unintended consequences such as delayed medical treatments, increased stress levels, negative cost impacts to other group benefit plans and reduced workforce productivity.
The following are a number of potential strategies your firm can implement to help address the concern of affordability in your employee benefits program.
- Reassess or benchmark your plan design to ensure any individual cost-sharing levels haven’t crept too far out of reach for your employees.
- Provide access to telehealth or virtual care services which usually provides more affordable primary care. Additionally, this setting can help many employees get their treatment process started as well as reduce financial and geographic barriers to care.
- Analyze claims data to determine if care can be redirected to lower cost sites or to higher performing medical providers.
- Explore adding voluntary benefit plans (e.g. critical illness, accident insurance, supplemental health or legal services) to provide additional coverage and security. Voluntary benefits also foster a culture shift from wellness to well-being by helping improve one’s financial and emotional health.
While the cost of providing top-rated employee benefit programs can be a concern for organizations in all industries, it could be more costly not to. Especially in industries like manufacturing, where there are concerns over stagnant wages— a comprehensive employee benefits package can help to attract talent, prevent turnover, keep employees healthy and overall medical claims down.
Contact a trusted RCM&D advisor to discuss additional strategies to promote increased affordability of your employee benefits plan.