By Shane Wingo
Competitive Job Markets have concluded that employers need to listen to their employees or risk losing them. In the last 10 years, healthcare costs have risen steadily, though at a slower pace in recent years. Since 2017, per the Kaiser report, the average annual premiums in 2018 for single coverage rose 3% since 2017 and for family coverage it increased by 5%. These percentages reflect a relatively stable market and gives opportunity for employees to have more options in the plan selection process. Bottom line, employers need to create a benefits program that will set them apart and provide opportunity to attract and retain talent.
In the benefits industry, new programs are vital in providing solutions for employee health and financial wellbeing. There are many different approaches to how these programs are created, but the most successful ones look at benefits that go hand in hand with employee needs, while employers cover much of the cost.
• Most firms offer only one type of health plan, equating to about 80% of those plans offered. Large employer groups are more likely to offer more than one plan type when compared to smaller employers. This may be reflective of the costs associated with certain plan types. The key is to find the plans that meet the needs of all the employees. Typically, one plan may be a “must have” to one employee but may not meet the needs of another. With the competitive labor market it is important to expand on plan selection options to cover a broader spectrum of employee needs. If your focus is to attract top talent, a “cafeteria” program of options may be a good place to start, but the price must be right for the employees.
• Employees who opt to elect benefits must pay a share of the cost of the premium in addition to the out-of-pocket expenses within each plan design. The average worker contributes 65 percent more for family coverage than they did 10 years ago, and that’s with the employers chipping in. Employers are now covering a significant portion of insurance premiums in order to offset those out of pocket costs. A solid benefits retention program is critical for any employer.
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