Employee Benefits Plans: Important things to remember when structuring
If you are a Human Resources professional, or otherwise administer your company’s group health insurance plan, it can oftentimes feel overwhelming. It’s hard enough to keep up for those that have been dealing with employee health insurance for years. This group no doubt already has learned many of the ins and outs of obtaining, managing and renewing a company health insurance policy. However, those that are newer to this area could likely use some input on navigating the waters on the seas of employee benefits plans. Here, Pacific Prime will look at the ways in which businesses are structuring health insurance, employee benefits and wellness plans successfully.
At Pacific Prime we provide group health insurance solutions for thousands of different organizations, and we are always looking out for hot trends in the world of group health insurance so that we can use our specific members’ experiences to help the entire community we serve.
With this in mind, we have noticed that it is becoming increasingly common to see more variety in the employee benefits plans provided by our members to their staff. Yes, comprehensive insurance is the norm, and in many cases – especially with expatriate employees – entire families are being covered by a company plan, but plans today can include so much more.
Now you can find that forward-thinking companies are able to not only make themselves more attractive to new hires, but also improve the morale of current employees by including benefits like wellness plans, dental and vision coverage, employee assistance programs, both short term and long term disability insurance, and more fringe benefits. From this point, companies are able to keep tabs on which benefits are more and less popular with employees, and make subsequent decisions about where to focus their employee benefit budget.
There are even newer types of plans that will allow for ‘flexible benefits’, meaning that employees can choose which benefits they would prefer to have from a list of what is available to them.
Placing a focus on prevention
While many healthcare systems and insurance plans around the world are focused on the reactionary treatment of acute health problems at hospitals after they have already occurred, more recently people, governments, and healthcare systems have taken aim at preventive medicine to a greater degree.
This is where benefits such as nutrition and healthy living seminars come into play. Companies will actually have expert speakers come in to inform employees about how they can live happier, healthier lives, and thereby avoid health problems that might not develop until years or even decades into the future. As well, gym memberships are being included in wellness programs in order to keep employees fit and healthy.
Emphasis on education
Quite similarly to the previous point, employers are finding that there is so much more to properly taking care of their employees than just healthcare. However, this is a world where there are known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns; which is all a way of saying that sometimes people don’t know the slightest thing about a topic that could really help them and their families when it comes to healthy living.
For example, we have come across members that saw employees having both physical and mental health issues as the result of stress, both inside and outside of work. A bit of digging revealed that some of these employees were constantly worrying about financial issues, and really didn’t know how to go about addressing them.
In this instance, the company decided it prudent to bring in a financial consultant to present to all employees of the company on the basics of financial planning, and to work more closely with employees that felt they may additional counseling.
Certainly there is much more to employee benefits plans than just what employees can see. If you work in HR, you know that keeping on top of just a group health insurance plan is a never ending battle. However, to be clear, it is the companies that are putting the most effort into analyzing plan data that are having the easiest time with plan renewal, negotiation, and management.
Is your company actually getting the most out of its health insurance and employee benefits plans? Only proper data analysis can reveal the true answer. It’s important to examine the ratio of how much you are paying versus how much your plan is being used. Believe it or not, there are actually times where we find that a company is seriously overpaying for the benefits it provides to its employees. In such cases, with proper ongoing data collection, our advisers are able to recommend specific benefits that the employer can reduce benefits, or even cut outright, with very minimal effects on employees. If they don’t use it, lose it!
If you have dealt with health insurance in any capacity, you most likely have realized that prices tend to increase on an annual basis. There are specific occasions in which this isn’t true, but by and large it is.
Claims data can reveal a lot about whether or not increased premiums are warranted or not. For example, there are times our members will have their insurance provider proclaim that premiums will need to be raised significantly on the policy due to its heavy usage in a given year.
Fortunately, Pacific Prime is there to analyze claim data on their behalf. Oftentimes we are then able to highlight anomalies and expensive one-time procedures that will artificially inflate the costs to insurers during a short time frame. By highlighting these instances and projecting that subsequent years will not see the same trends, Pacific Prime has been able to renegotiate premium increases with insurers, and our members have seen significant savings as a result.
Employee benefits plans through a broker
Now, of course, we may be a bit biased on this point, but we wholeheartedly feel that a company’s best way to go about creating their employee benefits plans is to start out by partnering with a knowledgeable insurance broker, like Pacific Prime.
As an insurance intermediary, we are an impartial third party that works on your behalf, and not the insurance company’s. Furthermore, Pacific Prime provides added value as part of our basic service that truly helps us stand out versus the competition, including the types of claims, data analysis, renewal, and negotiation support the likes of which is alluded to above.
To find out more about how Pacific Prime can help your company ensure its has the very best possible employee benefit and group health insurance plan for its needs, contact us today! We can provide your company with a dedicated team that will be happy to start out by providing you with a free plan comparison and price quote.