Home » News » 3 Hidden Problems in Your Employee Health Plans
Employers in today’s marketplace are faced with a rising number of potentially daunting responsibilities, not the least of which is securing a reliable and sensible health insurance plan for employees. The most central priorities for an employer in this position are typically to select a plan that simultaneously provides employees with high-quality insurance coverage and maximizes the company’s allocated resources. While choosing a well-rounded health insurance plan is among the most important tasks for an employer, a crucial follow-up question is often overlooked — is your company truly making the most of your current health insurance plan?
Both a company and its employees are equally implicated when selecting and using a health insurance plan. From ensuring that all employees are aware of their benefits to considering the best financial approach based on a company’s size and function, health care plans present countless questions that should be considered for the well-being of everyone involved. If you have not taken the time to analyze your specific health care plan’s efficiency, simply keep reading to unveil 3 tips that could drastically improve your health insurance plan’s effectiveness.
A common mistake that many companies make with health insurance — assuming that employees automatically understand all of their benefits — is easily corrected. Without the necessary education and supporting resources, employees may not know how to make the most of their health insurance plans, which ultimately wastes both company and employee resources. To avoid this issue, company management should provide multiple educational opportunities for employees as well as ongoing resources and support.
What is more, companies should take the extra step to identify and advertise “perks” provided by the insurance company that employees may not know about. For example, many insurance companies choose to provide what are considered to be supplemental benefits — i.e. gym memberships, discount programs, and various health incentives. Unless employees have taken the time to read all of their insurance brochures and fine print, they may not know that they have access to these complimentary services. Do both your company and employees a favor by studying up on the “perks” of your health insurance plan and educating all parties. Your company will reap the subsequent benefits as employees take their health into their own hands.
After selecting the right health care plan for your company and employees, companies might consider the advantages of an employee assistance program (EAP) which acts as a complement to employees’ main health insurance plan. EAP’s provide confidential counseling and consultation services to employees who are dealing with various mental, health, or wellness issues. EAP’s offer customized resources, referrals and practical information about countless work and life topics. As a result, companies can expect to see improved attendance, reduced accident claims, better retention, as well as significantly reduced long-term medical costs due to early identification and treatment of mental health/substance abuse issues.
While EAP’s primarily serve to improve employees’ mental health, they do feature more general health and wellness services like nutrition consultations and child/elder care recommendations. Should your company choose to use an EAP, providers often send welcoming resources and even a representative to help employees understand what is available to them. From mental health counseling to nutrition and wellness consultations, EAP’s are a positive complement to your primary health care plan that will benefit the long-term health of your employees.
To make the most of your health insurance plan, it is crucial to efficiently allocate your company’s financial resources. Your current insurance premiums may be excessive when compared to the amount of claims your company submits per year. In this case, alternative funding plans may be the right choice for you. Look into self-funding, health reimbursement arrangements (HRA’s) or other out-of-the-box options to see how your company’s health insurance plan can be tailored to your budget and medical needs.
Self-funded plans are an advantageous option for businesses that want to avoid the “1-size-fits-all” template offered by many large insurance companies today. In a self-funded plan, employers will assume the financial risk of providing health care benefits to employees, often drawing funds from a dedicated account that pools corporate and employee contributions. The company pays for claims out of pocket rather than giving the insurance company a predetermined premium every month. A self-funded plan often results in improved cash flow along with the fact that employers are no longer subject to state-by-state health insurance regulations or state health premium taxes. However, it’s worth noting that smaller companies without significant cash flow may struggle to take on the financial burden and risk of a self-funded plan. To assume less risk, HRA’s are employer-funded health benefits plans that reimburse employees for out-of-pocket expenses and occasionally pay for premiums on employees’ behalf.
While these valuable suggestions provide an overview of the best ways to fully take advantage of your company’s healthcare plan, you can become even more informed by contacting the knowledgeable experts at ESIS. To best serve your employees and effectively navigate healthcare benefits, call ESIS at 916-248-4777 today or download our complimentary Open Enrollment Checklist PDF.