How Employers Can Control Health Benefit Costs

How Employers Can Control Health Benefit Costs

Despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act - and in some cases because if it - employer health care costs continue to rise nationwide. These costs are affecting more and more employers as the employer mandate from the ACA kicks in. Many employers, already faced with narrow margins, are struggling to keep up.

Are there ways that employers can reduce the cost of employee benefits to their bottom line while still providing the valuable health benefits that employees want and need? In many cases, it is quite possible.

Call Us. We can help you shop around other carriers and take some bids. Health insurance is like any other industry: Carriers compete with each other to provide benefits. If it's been a while since you've shopped around, you may entertain some bids from competing carriers. Or even have your existing carrier reassess your premium via the premium audit process.

Offer a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). These are specially designed plans that come with a minimum deductible for employees. These plans also qualify employees for a health savings account, which is a way for workers to save in advance, tax-deferred, for qualified medical expenses. Any such medical costs paid out of an HSA account are paid tax-free. These plans are becoming increasingly popular with employers across the country, and can help set you apart from other employers.

Some employers choose to contribute to HSAs on workers' behalf, as part of their benefit package. Others don't. The choice is yours.

Migrate to PPOs and HMOs

PPOs and HMOs are managed care networks designed to keep premiums down for both workers and employers. Both of them require that workers access care through a limited network of providers. The key is that the providers in the network agree to provide a price break in exchange for a steady stream of plan members who need medical services. This is how they save money and keep premiums down. These can be a terrific option for individuals who don't already have a long relationship with a given family doctor who may be out of network.

Encourage telemedicine. Not every medical issue needs an in-person assessment from a doctor. Telemedicine has become a much more efficient and affordable way of delivering certain kinds of benefits.

Employee wellness programs. Many employers are offering everything from smoking cessation programs to weight loss programs to diabetes management and routine exercise programs and everything in between. Some companies are even offering cash bonuses to employees who meet a height/weight standard or who achieve weight loss goals. The long-term savings in health care costs can be significant.

Consider extending these programs to family plan beneficiaries as well. Your company benefits when their health care costs go down, too, and encouraging them can help boost employee participation in wellness programs.

The amount of money employers can save is significant: Johnson & Johnson measured their outcomes and return on investment from employee wellness programs from 2002 to 2008 and concluded that their initiatives to encourage workers to lower their blood pressure, lose weight, quit smoking and remain physically active saved the company some $250 million on health care costs over the previous decade. They also estimated that their ROI was $2.71 for every dollar they spent.

If you are interested in Employee Benefits options for your business in Alsip, Chicago, or Gurnee please call. 

Sharon Leonard

708.597.5900 x435

sharon@zeiler.com


 

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