A Willis Towers Watson survey, alongside many others, exhibits that mental well-being has become a major topic for both employers and their employees. Also, garnering a lot of focus is “equity,” as opposed to “equality” in plan selection and benefits. Employers are actively looking for insurance that addresses specific employee demographic profiles. As industry experts are now closely monitoring and evaluating the associated effects of the COVID pandemic on employer benefits programs, key concepts have materialized, changing the approach for these plans from “wellness” oriented , to a “well-being” perspective.
So how do you help your clients with limited capital and resources address these new paradigms, especially when taking into consideration the importance employees and job seekers are placing on benefits.
It is critical for businesses and organizations to evaluate the overall costs and sustainability of a total-care solution that includes the most cost-effective benefits that contribute to an employee’s sense of well-being. While larger enterprises can scale benefits, some employers do not have the same flexibility. That is why the benefits’ strategies you are putting together for them must be critically fundamental, focusing on the most important benefits that lead to a sense of overall well-being in a total care solution.
What Are Some of the Most Notable Stressors for Your Clients Employees Today?
1. Industry experts have recognized financial constraints as a key component to employee stress in light of the COVID pandemic, specifically among low-wage and hourly workers.
2. Remote workforce strategies are here to stay. The higher degree of autonomy, lack of social interaction, and limited work life balance may be negatively affecting the workforce.
3. While hourly and low wage earners have been more likely to repudiate health benefits during the pandemic, lowering utilization rates as of late, utilization is forecasted to increase, as health concerns have become a leading stressor for employees.
Recognizing some of these stressors must be the baseline for building equitable benefits’ solutions for your clients and their organizations. We present this, backed by the information noted in this article in hopes that as Brokers and Consultants, you will identify as we have; voluntary benefits as critical to building your clients benefits program and thus alleviating a number of stressors their employees and ultimately their business face. Voluntary benefits include supplemental fixed Indemnity medical insurance, as well as ancillary benefits as the most important. Without these benefits, attempts to build programs in a shotgun approach that doesn’t appeal to a wide range of “lifestyles” or demographics can be ineffective, and lead to decreases in plan participation and additional stress to employees already feeling the pinch. With everything noted above alluded to, you and your clients should examine the following:
Best Practices and Solutions for Employers
Recommend your clients first assess their own resources as it relates to benefits’ administration. All too often, this is overlooked as brokers feel pressed to present multiple benefits’ solutions from multiple Carriers. Disjoined systems lead to abject benefits’ administration and can create employee stress and even negative perceptions of the employer benefits’ offerings. Help your clients carefully evaluate providers to ensure that not only are they providing important benefits for their employee’s well-being, but they are also providing the most needed solutions that are cost-effective.
Voluntary benefits plan design is compulsory as we progress from wellness to well-being as the mandatory principle for benefits’ in a post-pandemic arena. A voluntary benefits plan can cover the majority of low wage earners and hourly employee’s out-of-pocket expenses. For your clients this means coverage for everyday healthcare, like doctors’ office visits, outpatient surgeries, and tests not accessible under ACA plans, that still have an average of almost $6,000 in deductibles and copays. The right plan design, that is affordable to your clients and their employees, will alleviate financial stress related to both everyday healthcare and unexpected healthcare events, providing contentment that lends to the “well-being” of employees.
Closely related to plan design is virtual care options, made apparent and in most cases necessary as the pandemic has progressed.
According to the CDC, while telehealth services were available before, the pandemic resulted in a 50% increase in virtual visits during the first quarter of 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.
Mckinsey and Company also includes in it’s research that Telehealth utilization has stabilized at levels 38X higher than before the pandemic. After an initial spike to more than 32 percent of office and outpatient visits occurring via telehealth in April 2020, utilization levels have largely stabilized, ranging from 13 to 17%.
Telemedicine is also changing the face of primary care models in the US. For your clients, primary care that is not addressed can lead to increased insurance costs. Employers can often avoid these consequences by providing an easy, cost-effective telemedicine benefit. For the employee, this benefit relieves problems related to availability, as well as protecting vulnerable patients from exposure to other ailments and diseases.
The bottom-line simple
While your clients may not be able to provide all the perks of modernizers like Apple or Google, the pandemic served to clarify that affordable benefits are a baseline for employee well-being and that the future of healthcare will be changed by those who provide the best solutions in benefits and health plans when building a clients benefit strategy.
Coterie Advisory Group, Inc. is a National insurance program manager and consultative advisor who delivers Affordability-Based Medical Plan Strategies to help benefit brokers, employers, and associations in the benefits industry.
We offer Affordability Based Medical Insurance Plans
FUNDAMENTAL CARE LIMITED BENEFIT INDEMNITY
Custom plans designed for employer groups, associations, and affinity groups looking to provide affordable healthcare alternatives. Limited benefit indemnity coverage helps with first-dollar expenses with no deductibles, which provides coverage that individuals can actually use. Can be offered on a voluntary basis or with employer contribution.
Voluntary for employers or associations
Customizable Plan Designs and Price Points
ACA qualified MEC Plans available
No Medical Underwriting
No Deductible or Co-insurance
$10 Office Visit Prepay for Doctor Visits
An affordable option for the uninsured that provides coverage for basic medical expenses.
FUNDAMENTAL CARE ENHANCED BENEFITS
In addition to the core Limited Benefit Indemnity plans, Fundamental Care includes access to Enhanced Benefits which adds significant plan value. Enhanced Benefit options include: PPO network, Telemedicine, EAP, Health and Financial Wellness benefits, Virtual Direct Primary Care, DMPO savings plan, and more!